HARDWARE STORES

Handy hires new director of operations

BY Ken Clark

As it plans for a reorganization and searches for a new CEO, Houston-based Handy Hardware Wholesale hired an Office Depot executive to head up its D.C. operations. 

In February, Handy Hardware hired J.R. Ferguson, a former senior distribution manager for Office Depot, as director of operations.

The co-op filed for bankruptcy protection in January. The company, which is expected to file its plan of reorganization in a matter of days, is continuing its search for a CEO

The most unpleasant aspect of Handy’s bankruptcy story is the loss of member equity. Class A and Class B shares once worth about $27 million today have no value.

“The fact that the dealers lost that investment is really bad — a disappointing situation,” said Morrie Aaron, president of MCA Financial Group, Handy’s hired-gun financial advisory firm specializing guiding the co-op through its restructuring. “But the mission of Handy will continue. And that is to be a low-cost no-frills supplier focused on a high level of customer service for its members."

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Small stores in a changing landscape

BY HBSDEALER Staff

An article on NorthJersey.com examines the strengths and challenges of the independent, neighborhood hardware store.

For various reasons, Northern New Jersey has been hit by three announced hardware store closings in less than three weeks. The stores are Mitchell Simon in Englewood; Ludewig’s Hardware in Teaneck; and Fort Lee Hardware & Supply Co. in Fort Lee.

While the closings reflect a changing retail landscape, the article draws on the collected experience of the region’s successful independents and examines the one-two punch of convenience and service as the hardware store’s most effective competitive advantage.

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House-Hasson success includes taking risks

BY Ken Clark

An article on Knoxvillebiz.com has examined the history and the future of House-Hasson Hardware.

The article tracks the 100-year history of the regional hardware distributor, and profiles current CEO Don Hasson, grandson of one of the founders of the company. 

Hasson told the newspaper, “When I was born, there were 500 wholesale hardware companies. Today, there’s 25 in the country.” 

One of keys to success, he explained, was a willingness to take risks — but not a risk that could jeopardize the survival of the company.

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How much credit should be given to the co-op business model for the success of the independent hardware and building supply dealer over the last half century?