Handy Hardware attracts record attendance
Despite winter storms that slammed Texas transportation, Handy Hardware Wholesale hosted more than 725 dealers at its Houston market last week. That’s a new record for the Houston-based hardware co-op.
During the event’s Feb. 5 breakfast meeting, Handy president Tina Kirbie updated members on what she called Handy’s "two bold 2010 initiatives" — a computer system conversion and the company’s new Meridian, Miss., distribution center.
Both presented challenges, and both are seeing progress, Kirbie said in her remarks.
Amid member concerns over the functionality of the new computer system, Kirbie pointed to "much progress" in the past several weeks and described the ongoing improvement as a "top priority for us." She added: "We are working diligently to amend areas that need to be improved."
Part of the IT initiative involves a new-and-improved website: handyhardware.com.
The Meridian, Miss., distribution center — the company’s original DC is in Houston — is shipping product to members, she said. "The balancing act of moving business from Houston to Meridian has been challenging, but we’re all getting better at it every week," she said.
The Meridian facility adds 463,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space to Handy, adding to Houston’s 560,000 sq. ft.
Kirbie also pointed to Handy’s history — the co-op turns 50 years old in 2011. From first-year sales of $156,072, the co-op saw sales of more than $235 million in 2010, she said.
The Handy president also presented a variety of economic indicators that bode well for hardware stores in 2011. Among them was the recently raised GDP growth outlook from Goldman Sachs, increased from 2.0% to 2.7%.
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In Houston, a Handy Hardware homecoming
Houston-based co-op Handy Hardware Wholesale opens its 50th Anniversary Spring Market today in Houston. The event runs through Feb. 5.
Handy’s market floor will open at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday and will close at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5. Market incentives will be enhanced as five market attendees will have the opportunity to draw for up to $50,000 in cash at the close of the market. Following the market close, the member-owned distributor will continue the celebration with a private concert by Sony BMG recording artist Kellie Pickler.
The pre-market registration is 20% higher than the previous record market registration for the Spring of 2010. Organizers are hoping weather won’t impact attendance.
"We know that travel is treacherous in some places, but everything is clear in Houston,” said Lynn Bradley, senior director of retail development.
Mickey Schulte, VP marketing and purchasing added: “Our Deep Discount Store within the market is over 5,000 sq. ft. dedicated to planograms that all have a 50% discount, one year dating or some combination of the two. Our factories have gone above and beyond to support this celebration.”
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Emeril heats up grill category at True Value market
Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse appeared at the 2011 True Value Spring Market to promote Emeril Outdoor Grills at the Viking Culinary Group booth.
Distributed and designed by Viking, the Emeril Outdoor Grills were added for the first time to the True Value warehouse program.
Lagasse signed autographs at the Viking booth on Monday at the co-op’s market in Orlando.
The Emeril Outdoor Charcoal Grill has 424 square inches of primary cooking surface, a heavy-duty construction and an easy-to-read thermometer.
The Emeril Outdoor Gas Grill has 589 square inches of primary cooking surface, porcelain-coated cooking grates and four burners that can reach a searing 48,000 BTUs.