CNRG’s latest acquisition: Elliott’s Hardware
Natchez, Miss.-based Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) announced the acquisition of Elliott’s Hardware, which operates three stores in the Dallas area. The transaction closed Feb. 1. All three stores will continue to operate under the Elliott’s Hardware banner.
“Elliott’s Hardware is an iconic brand in the hardware industry. We are very excited about the opportunity to build upon the company’s strengths and grow the brand in the Dallas market and beyond,” said Boyden Moore, president of CNRG. “We are also pleased that Andrea Spencer, granddaughter of Jerre Elliott, will continue to work with the CNRG team going forward.”
CNRG currently operates 24 home center and hardware stores in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas. The group says it is creating a multi-format, multi-brand operating company through strategic partnerships and acquisitions. The brands include Home Hardware Center, Morrison Terrebonne Lumber Center, NFL Home Center and now Elliott’s.
“The CNRG team brings a wealth of knowledge to the table,” said Spencer. “Joining CNRG’s group of stores will provide Elliott’s Hardware the resources and expertise we need to grow.”
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Chemical confusion hits hardware stores
According to an article in the Daily Herald, stores in the Chicago suburbs are objecting to confusing rules governing the sale of chemical cleaners.
A law intended to govern the sale of industrial strength chemicals could be interpreted as applying to household cleaners, according to some. And the fine for violation is up to $1,500, the article reported.
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Orchard Supply builds brand identity
San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Co. CEO Mark Baker described the retailer’s efforts to keep the brand fresh while also honoring the company’s 80-plus-year history.
An emphasis on the in-store experience and local knowledge is key for the California chain, Baker explained during his presentation to the Presidents Council advisory board meeting during the International Builders’ Show here in Orlando, Fla.
"We’re not a small big box, but a really big small box," he said.
Orchard Supply’s 87 locations — all in California — range from 42,000 sq. ft. to 75,000 sq. ft., he said, carrying 45,000 SKUs.
The local-market concept, which fuels growth in the grocery sector at companies such as Whole Foods and Fresh & Easy, is a force in hardware retailing also, he said. And Orchard Supply believes it has an opportunity to grow with its access to capital combined with an ability to engage customers in local markets.
In 2012, Orchard expects to open three new stores and remodel six.
Asked about the possibility of expanding beyond California, Baker said such a move is a logical next step for the company, but he offered no time frame for doing so. Strong lawn and garden markets — Pacific Northwest and Las Vegas, for instance — are natural areas of expansion, he added. "We see near term California is where we should be and continue to grow out," he said.
Five key priorities for Orchard Supply are:
• Project a consistent and compelling brand identity;
• Drive sales through merchandising and marketing initiatives;
• Improve operational efficiencies;
• Align resources and talent; and
• Strengthen the company’s financial position.
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