DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Do it Best to open with Dick Vitale in Indianapolis

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. hired the right guy to kick off a 7 a.m. breakfast event — the exceedingly enthusiastic sportscaster Dick Vitale.

Vitale will headline the co-op’s kickoff breakfast during the Oct. 8 to 10 Do it Best October Market at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. 

“We really believe this market will be like no other that our members have seen or experienced,” said CEO Bob Taylor. “With the continued momentum of our Extreme Growth initiatives, along with outstanding purchasing opportunities in an expanded convention center and top-notch slate of events and speakers, we’ve got a lot of very exciting things in store for our members. We pride ourselves on being the only complete solution in our industry, which is why we’ve designed the market to be a complete event for all of our members.”

In addition to a pep talk from Vitale, the event includes a full schedule of training and learning opportunities for Do it Best Corp. members and their employees. Education Day seminars, an outside sales training seminar, lunchtime sessions and more split into three content categories: Business Management, Increasing Sales and Technology. 

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DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Ace Hardware plans Re-Distribution Center in Virginia

BY Ken Clark

Ace Hardware Corp. is planning a 336,000-sq.-ft. Import Re-Distribution Center (RDC) in Suffolk, Va.

Ace will be the first tenant to occupy space in the 900-acre CenterPoint Intermodal Center, located at 1006 CenterPoint Dr., which can accommodate up to 5.8 million sq. ft. of industrial facilities. The new Import RDC will receive international goods arriving at the Port of Virginia.

“We investigated several cities along the Gulf and East Coasts to find the ideal location that will allow us to lower costs and provide optimum service to our retailers,” said Lori Bossmann, senior VP supply chain and retail support for Ace. “Suffolk is only 30 miles from the Port of Virginia, which is the most modern port in the United States. We also have the capabilities to expand our new facility up to 500,000 sq. ft. in order to accommodate future needs and anticipated growth.”

The co-op said the new facility — scheduled for completion May 1, 2012 — will reduce import and logistics costs and provide an even higher level of service to East Coast retailers, making it possible for Ace stores to more effectively respond to consumer needs dictated by hurricanes and other weather emergencies in the region. 

Ace executives considered the Panamax — which expands the Panama Canal and is scheduled for completion in 2014 — an added incentive to selecting the location. Panamax will allow larger container vessels easier access to East Coast ports, further lowering land-transportation costs.

Ace Hardware already operates an 800,000-sq.-ft. Retail Support Center (RSC) in Prince George, Va., which will continue to operate as usual. This RSC receives and warehouses product shipments from thousands of manufacturers. The products are sorted to fill customized orders received from retailers and then shipped to those stores.

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True Value’s top merchant points to winners

BY Ken Clark

With the message that relevant, up-to-date assortments are the lifeblood of successful hardware retailers, True Value Co.’s Mike Clark, senior VP and chief merchandising officer, identified winners during his presentation at the co-op’s Fall Market in Philadelphia.

Clark also introduced the Chicago-based co-op’s initial Farm & Ranch assortments.

True Value’s farm and ranch offerings range from towing, jacks, oil and air filters, electric fencing, baler twine and Miller plastic buckets, to name a few.

"We intend to continue expansion into this vital market to provide better merchandising support for our retailers who are in the farm and ranch business," he said. The goal is to provide more options for members, and allow them the flexibility to order from the warehouse, while avoiding the order minimums typical of other farm-and-ranch distributors.

Chief among his advice was to power up. Retailers that have adopted the Chicago-based co-op’s Master Mechanic portable power tool assortments are selling 45% more power tools than those retailers that have not, he said. With the exclusive brand, he encouraged members to "get back in the power business."

Introduced as a new line at a previous market, faucets are delivering year-over-year comparable-sales increases — up year-to-date 9% in dollars and 9.6% in units at retail, he said. 

Grills also present an opportunity, particularly on the low end. "You may not know this, but 73% of all gas grills are sold below $300," Clark said. "Our Grill Zone grills provide you an awesome product, terrific margin and your opportunity to capture share of that under-$300 business."

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