Handy dealers meet their new CEO
SAN ANTONIO — Doug Miller has taken the reins of Handy Hardware at a critical juncture. The last several months have seen the failure of a distribution center, bankruptcy proceedings, loss of member equity and a private equity takeover.
Into the fray jumps Miller, an executive who grew up in the hardware business (his dad owned a store) and never left it. Miller retired from Spokane, Wash.-based Jensen Distribution at the end of last year, and came out of retirement to lead Handy.
During his first Handy market last month, the new CEO described himself as excited to get to work. He hit on a number of other topics.
On the No. 1 priority:
“We’re going to get back to doing the basics right. No. 1 thing is getting the fill rate to 95% or better.”
On the distribution business:
“It’s really pretty simple. We buy in big quantities, and we ship it out in smaller quantities. We don’t want to make that a difficult process.”
“What you will not see is a lot of big changes. What you’re going to see is better performance.”
On new ownership:
“(Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm) Littlejohn & Co. gave me the confidence that they’re going to let us run this business and give us the support to make it work.”
Orgill points the way to price image
BOSTON — When it comes to pricing, Orgill merchandising guru Paul Ohrberg has done the math, several times. And at the Memphis, Tenn.-based distributor’s Fall Market here, Orgill’s director of retail concepts shared some theories on price image.
Ohrberg’s presentation, titled “Merchandising Techniques: Increasing Your Add On & Impulse Sales,” covered a wide swath of store best practices. And it also hit on some specifics:
- Limit product selection for temporary dump bins;
- Choose items that can be stacked safely;
- Display larger items at the main entrance to encourage the use of a shopping cart;
- Use service counter displays to remind customers of something they may have forgotten;
- Keep checkout display items generally under $5; and
- Use endcaps to promote new items with good price value.
“If you scare them away on price with the first thing they see, they’re going to think you’re an expensive store,” he said. “Price image is key.”
Empire’s anti-counterfeit crusade
How can you tell a counterfeit from the real thing? According to Mukwonago, Wis.-based Empire Level, the screws of its genuine Torpedo level are hidden on the side. Also, counterfeits squeak when twisted.
The company says it is working aggressively to stop counterfeiting of its levels in two ways: blocking the import of knock-offs and pushing for removal of counterfeits from store shelves. The company has issued dozens of cease-and-desist letters to Chinese suppliers, as well as U.S. distributors and retailers dealing in the counterfeits.
It’s a battle worth fighting, according to Jenni Becker, Empire president.
“This counterfeit activity is a direct threat to our economy and American jobs, including the jobs of our 200 employees,” Becker said. “It hurts our business and our brand when people purchase counterfeit products that don’t perform to our standards. We know some consumers have been deceived by ads for these junk counterfeits, and it absolutely needs to stop.”
In recent months, tens of thousands of the knockoff units have been taken off the market, with related advertisements stopped. Empire Level has launched more than 100 enforcement efforts — including more than one with major retailers — resulting in numerous quick settlements.
Becker added: “If it’s coming from China, it’s not our Torpedo level.”
Amount of counterfeit goods seized at U.S. borders in 2012
Source: U.S. Department of Customs and Border Protection