DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Do it Best hires retail program manager

BY Ken Clark

Corbin Prows has joined Do it Best Corp. as the retail program manager, responsible for the creation and implementation of marketing strategies to increase co-op member participation in a variety of key retail programs.

Prior to joining Do it Best Corp., Prows spent the previous 18 years at Centennial Wireless in Fort Wayne, which later became AT&T Mobility. 

“Corbin brings an outstanding of experience, subject matter expertise and enthusiasm to this important role,” said Tim Miller, Vice President of Marketing for Do it Best Corp.  “His nearly two decades of success at both the store level and in corporate functional areas in the highly innovative and competitive wireless industry are among the many reasons he will be such a great contributor to our retail management team at Do it Best Corp.”

Among the programs Prows will lead are Best Rewards — the co-op’s turnkey customer rewards program — as well as the Do it Best Rental Center and Do it Best Radio.

He will work with Do it Best members and the field team to improve store productivity and profitability through the application of customer analytics, while increasing customer frequency and level of engagement with their local Do it Best locations. 

“The Retail Program Manager leads proven retail programs that drive significant profitability and customer growth for our members in a very big way, which is why I am excited about this opportunity,” Prows said. “My previous experiences will help me identify additional ways to enhance our current mix of retail programs as well as introduce new growth opportunities for our members.”

Prows earned recognition and performance-based awards for numerous initiatives while at Centennial/AT&T Mobility.

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Ace, Weather Channel announce ‘Restore Your Outdoors’

BY HBSDealer Staff

Ace Hardware and The Weather Channel have announced the launch of “Restore Your Outdoors,” which pairs Ace’s service with the local weather knowledge from The Weather Channel. As part of this program, homeowners from across the country can enter for a chance to win $15,000 in Ace gift cards. In addition to the sweepstakes, Ace’s alliance with The Weather Channel provides homeowners with tips and tools to complete their outdoor home maintenance tasks.

With the help of Ace’s Home Expert, Lou Manfredini, and Ace’s Design Expert, Julie Richard, “Restore Your Outdoors” is designed to provide easy-to-execute suggestions for homes across the country, including how updating and maintaining your outdoor living areas can make your home more inviting.

“Many homeowners have a list of home maintena nce projects they’ve thought about, but never taken on, simply because they don’t know where to begin,” said Manfredini. “Together with The Weather Channel we’re able to not only offer one lucky winner the opportunity to update their outdoor space, but also provide our more personal kind of helpful to homeowners across the country.”

Throughout May, consumers are invited to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win $15,000 in Ace gift cards. Additionally, each week during the promotion, Ace will be giving away a $100 gift card to one winner.

For more details and official rules on “Restore Your Outdoors”, visit facebook.com/acehardware.  

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Sold: Handy Hardware to Littlejohn

BY HBSDealer Staff

Handy Hardware Wholesale, the Houston-based co-op that filed for bankruptcy protection in January, announced that Littlejohn Management Holdings has agreed to acquire Handy.

Littlejohn is a Connecticut-based private equity firm with substantial holdings in the wholesale distribution business and the hardware industry. The company’s website includes Howard Berger Co. and Installed Building Products among its portfolio. 

According to Handy, if the deal is approved by the court, then Handy would emerge from bankruptcy this summer as a subsidiary of a Littlejohn portfolio company, while maintining its Handy Hardware brand. Handy would no longer be a member-owned co-op.

In the note to members from the co-op’s board of directors, a series of townhall meetings were said to be in the works for the coming weeks.

The note also said: "Current Handy member dealers will not have to contribute additional equity as part of the plan, and Littlejohn wil also eliminate the 2% warehouse service fee upon closing." 

As part of the deal, Littlejohn will provide $4 million in cash funding to Handy as part of its Debtor in Possession secured financing to ensure that Handy has sufficient funds for inventory procurement and operations during the transition. 

The deal, which has the support of Handy’s board of directors, its member advisory committee and member equity committee, is expected to gain court approval in July 2013, Handy said.

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