True Value holds growth conference in New Jersey

Atlantic City – Around 40 True Value store owners from around the New York Metro area gathered at the Atlantic City Hilton Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 23 for a Regional Member Growth Conference -- one of 13 meetings around the nation designed to bring co-op members and executives together in a small group setting.

This was the 12th of 13 stops for the True Value team, which has been meeting with retailers from all over the nation, beginning in Naperville, Ill., in early July.

“I’ve engaged with somewhere between 650 and 750 members, learning what’s on their minds and continuing to share best practices on improving sales, growth, margins and performance within their stores,” said CEO Lyle Heidemann, who kicked things off by addressing the group on the state of True Value’s operations.

Shawn Clifford of True Value of Bethel in Bethel, Conn. -- attending his first conference -- said it was helpful to hear Heidemann’s morning address, and he was looking forward to sharing ideas and strategies with other members during the afternoon breakout sessions.

“I think it’s valuable to take what you learn here and see how you can do things differently in your store on a day-to-day basis,” said Clifford, a fifth generation owner who opened his current store a year ago. “You have a chance to look at the bigger picture and talk to others about what they’re doing.”

Alison Dannehower and her brother, Paul Giunta, rode the short distance from Shore True Value in Somers Point, N.J., to get some pointers on controlling costs within their store. “I think one of the biggest concerns is retail prices going up,” Giunta said. “Inflation is driving up the cost of raw goods, and we’ve got to stay on top of that.”

Also attending was Tom Collins of Colmer True Value Home Center in Margate City, N.J., the first Destination True Value remodel in the state. “In a declining market, our business has been up because of the new format,” said Collins. “Now I’m trying to stay abreast of what’s going on with other stores. Having the strength of the True Value network has given me tremendous advantages.”

The Regional Member Growth Conferences conclude on Oct. 2 in Denver.

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