DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

After 32 years, and a difficult 2011, Kirbie retires

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The retirement of Houston-based Handy Hardware Wholesale President Tina Kirbie earlier this year marked the end of a 32-year run for the co-op executive. The company’s new leadership, meanwhile, told Home Channel News “everything’s positive and we’re moving forward.”

Kirbie, a 32-year Handy Hardware veteran who began her career as an accounting credit manager, took part in the co-op’s January market in Houston, but in a limited role. 

Kirbie’s retirement follows a tumultuous year at Handy, including supply chain and delivery errors. Kenneth White, a partner at national consulting firm Tatum, was placed in charge when Handy’s board of directors agreed to Tatum’s action plan to address issues in IT and operations.

In a letter to the membership, White thanked Kirbie for “all of her great years of service at Handy.”

As for the co-op’s operations, White said the co-op recently rolled out a radio-frequency system in the Houston and Meridian, Miss. Distribution centers. “Since we implemented it, our miss-picks and miss shipments, our longs and shorts, have pretty much dissipated.” 

Membership has remained at about 1,300 retailers, White said. And 2011 sales showed a 3% increase over 2010. He described the top-line growth as broad based. 

“Last year was a difficult year for the co-op, with a lot of operational issues” he told Home Channel News. “Yet our membership remained constant and our sales grew. That says a lot for the company.”

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DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Ace Hardware announces vendors of the year

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware Corporation recognized seven vendors for outstanding service to the hardware cooperative, its retailers and customers. 

The companies are:

• Camco, a manufacturer of RV accessories, based in Greensboro, N.C.;
• Cargill Salt, Ace’s national supplier for water softener and pool salt, and East Coast provider of rock salt, based in Alamo, Calif.;
• First Alert, a manufacturer of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and other home safety solutions, based in Aurora, Ill.;  
• Flanders Corporation, a manufacturer of air filtration solutions, based in Washington, N.C.;
• Vanco, named Ace’s International Vendor of the Year, based in Batavia, Ill., is a leading manufacturer of electronics accessories; and
• Werner Ladders, the provider of climbing equipment, based in Itasca, Ill.

In addition, Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, a leading supplier of household care products, was recognized as the Ace Foundation Vendor of the Year. In 2011, Procter & Gamble donated $250,000 to the Ace Foundation to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. 

The companies accepted the recognition during the 2012 Spring Convention and Exhibits held in Atlanta.

“From a product, supply chain and promotions perspective, these valued vendors have continuously gone above and beyond for Ace retailers,” said Ken Goodgame, general merchandise manager for Ace Hardware. “Through their commitment to excellence, each one of these companies has made it possible for Ace to fulfill its promise of helping customers take care of their homes quickly and easily.”

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Ace executives look back, point forward

BY HBSDEALER Staff

During the Oak Brook, Ill.-based hardware co-op’s spring market in Atlanta, executives communicated their mission and their vision.

Delivering good news early in the general session, CEO Ray Griffith pointed to sales of  $3.7 billion in fiscal 2011, up 5.1% from the previous year and stronger than the planned growth of 3%.

Ace COO John Venhuizen spelled out the Ace mission during his time on the stage – specifically, to be the best provider of products, services and operating methods for convenience hardware retailers, he said. He pointed to four keys to achieving that goal: Improve the store model; grow new business; drive store projects and reduce store atrophy. 

Preliminary attendance reports point to higher numbers of retailers at this year’s spring market compared to last year, but no details were available yet.  

 

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