DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Do it Best points to three major strategic initiatives

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Indianapolis — Do it Best Corp. CEO Bob Taylor presented three major co-op initiatives — including an aggressive  recruitment strategy — to members assembled here for the 2011 Do it Best May Market at the Indiana Convention Center.

The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op has created a new Do it Best Advantage Program designed to attract new members in the United States and internationally. It’s offering certain converts a "performance satisfaction guarantee." And thirdly, the co-op is beginning the process of redesigning its e-commerce and online ordering tools into what it calls a "World Class Commerce Center."

The Advantage Member recruitment program will be led by Gary Hoffman, supported by a newly created staff of five. 

Related to the recruitment efforts, the company’s field staff is getting a name change. Instead of "Retail development specialists," they are taking the title "sales and business development specialists." The change better reflects the diverse businesses in the Do it Best fold — from hardware retailers to pro lumberyards to industrial and commercial distributors, Taylor said.

The co-op’s Performance Satisfaction Guarantee applies to new converts. Here’s how it works: If during the first three years of conversion from their former co-op, the premier member wants to go back to their former co-op, Do it Best will help with the conversion and pay out 10% of their average annual warehouse purchase. 

"We want to make sure they understand that we’re serious about this, and that we’re going to put our money behind the promise," Taylor told Home Channel News. He added that he doesn’t expect to pay out.

On the e-commerce front, Taylor said Marty Baily will lead the initiative to bring the co-op’s four sites — doitbest.com, mydoitbest.com, channellockproducts.com and the company’s industrial-commercial website — into a more efficient sales catalog and online merchandising tool.

The co-op’s 2011 May Market draws to a conclusion May 23.

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True Value hires former Timberland CIO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based True Value Co. hired a new chief information officer responsible for leading the co-op’s information technology team and managing the co-op’s retail and enterprise systems.

Prior to joining True Value, Rosalee Hermens was CIO for The Timberland Co.

“Rosalee’s experience working with a diverse retailer population and supporting a large company will make her an integral part of our senior management,” said Lyle Heidemann, CEO and president. “And this experience will help her acclimate quickly to our company’s unique business needs.”

In her new role, Hermens replaces Leslie Weber, who left the co-op about a year ago.

Hermens’ duties include all automated processes to support the wholesale business systems, including international distribution, order, inventory management, replenishment, merchandising and financial systems. She also supports member store retail systems and portal technologies for both vendors and retailers.

Additionally, Hermens has served in various leadership positions throughout her career. In addition to her CIO position at Timberland, she worked in leadership positions with Aspen Technology and Digital Equipment Corp.

Hermens earned a bachelor’s of science from the University of Oregon before attending Yale University, where she earned her master’s degree.

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In first quarter, Ace posts fourth straight sales gain

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corp. reported total revenues of $845.0 million in the first quarter, up 2.8% from the same quarter a year ago. 

Merchandise sales to comparable domestic stores increased 2.2% in the first quarter.

Net income for the hardware cooperative declined to $6.8 million, down from $11.8 million in the same quarter last year.

"Our first-quarter sales reflect our fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year positive growth in merchandise sales," said Ray Griffith, Ace president and CEO. "While there is still uncertainty in the overall economic environment, we will continue to provide our retailers with the products and services they need to drive further growth as the economy stabilizes."

Ace added 38 new stores and canceled 41 stores in the first quarter, ending the period with 4,444 stores. 

Ace had sales of $3.5 billion in 2010, making it the largest of the "big three" co-ops, ahead of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best with $2.4 billion in sales, and Chicago-based True Value, with $1.8 billion in sales.

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