SAN ANTONIO — Doug Miller has taken the reins of Handy Hardware at a critical juncture. The last several months have seen the failure of a distribution center, bankruptcy proceedings, loss of member equity and a private equity takeover.
Into the fray jumps Miller, an executive who grew up in the hardware business (his dad owned a store) and never left it. Miller retired from Spokane, Wash.-based Jensen Distribution at the end of last year, and came out of retirement to lead Handy.
During his first Handy market last month, the new CEO described himself as excited to get to work. He hit on a number of other topics.
On the No. 1 priority:
“We’re going to get back to doing the basics right. No. 1 thing is getting the fill rate to 95% or better.”
On the distribution business:
“It’s really pretty simple. We buy in big quantities, and we ship it out in smaller quantities. We don’t want to make that a difficult process.”
“What you will not see is a lot of big changes. What you’re going to see is better performance.”
On new ownership:
“(Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm) Littlejohn & Co. gave me the confidence that they’re going to let us run this business and give us the support to make it work.”