Hardware store all-stars: Florida, Georgia and Hawaii
There are great hardware stores in every corner of this country. Home Channel News has identified 50 — one for each state — in its May issue.
Continuing the report of all-star hardware stores in order alphabetical, here are Florida, Georgia and Hawaii:
Sunshine Ace Hardware. Sunshine Ace has six locations in South Florida, but the downtown Naples store is unlike any of the others, said store manager Sherry Kish. Walk into the sporting goods area and you see a very large fishing boat. Above the boat is a mangrove and beside the mangrove are two large murals depicting the area. And all around, the store uses a cinnamon, beige and green color scheme to hammer home the one-of-a-kind impression.
Bates Ace Hardware. It takes a certain amount of confidence to build a 22,000-sq.-ft. hardware store on Home Depot’s home turf. The year was 1993, Home Depot was a $9.2 billion retailer, but Bates Ace Hardware had run out of room in its small, 72-year-old Atlanta store. Owner David Doss moved ahead with plans for a new building across the street, including a 12,000-sq.-ft. showroom and a 1,000-sq.-ft. lawn and garden center. A decade later, the Doss family added a 1,000-sq.-ft. climate-controlled greenhouse. Their courage is still on display: The store has a live video feed from its sales floor posted on its website at batesace.com.
City Mill. “Oahu’s favorite hardware store” isn’t just a slogan. City Mill has made the Hawaii Business Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” list in each of the last four years. It’s also a Sea Advertiser’s People’s Choice Award Winner. Brother-sister team Carol Ai May and Steven Ai run eight locations in Honolulu and across Oahu.
Coming on Thursday: Idaho, Illinois and Indiana.
House-Hasson expands W.Va. warehouse
Knoxville, Tenn.-based regional hardware distributor House-Hasson Hardware completed its $2 million, 100,000-sq.-ft. expansion of the company’s Prichard, W.Va., warehouse.
“We’ve moved in, the racks are up, and the bins are being filled,” said Don Hasson, House-Hasson president. “Our West Virginia warehouse will have the same items as are available through our Knoxville warehouse. This means faster and more efficient shipping and delivery of all our products to our customers.”
About 8,500 items, mostly smaller-cost products, were added to the Prichard facility inventory. Previously these items had been shipped UPS out of Knoxville.
The company said the inventory expansion reduces the special shipping charges and means fewer invoices for its customers.
The addition brings the West Virginia warehouse to 250,000 sq. ft. Coupled with the company’s Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters warehouse (which received a 50,000-sq.-ft. addition in 2010), West Virginia’s expansion brings total House-Hasson warehouse space to more than 600,000 sq. ft.
House-Hasson has spent $3 million in the last 15 months, adding warehouse space, new truck bays, racks, conveyor systems and technology upgrades to its warehouses as a result of the company’s 2009 acquisition of Moore-Handley, an Alabama-based hardware distributor. The distributor added more than 100 employees since the acquisition.
House-Hasson serves nearly 2,000 independent hardware dealers in 17 states and the Caribbean.
Charity, tailgating and new products merge at NHS
The National Hardware Show revealed its charitable side this week as a stage for awarding the Sears “traveling toolbox” to Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas non-profit and preferred charity of the National Hardware Show. The charity serves people with intellectual disabilities.
The show also served as a stage for award-winning products across a diverse range of categories.
TV star and home improvement guru Ty Pennington told a standing room-only crowd gathered around the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Village Stage that he and his sponsors at Sears learned about Opportunity Village through the National Hardware Show. “We think this is a great cause that really embodies the `Do It Together’ message, so Sears is providing them with a fully stocked toolbox and some other materials.”
Accepting the donation was Laura D’Amore, director of sales at Opportunity Village, who said, “The National Hardware Show has transformed our thrift store over the last two to three years and brought a whole new awareness in the community with their donations to Opportunity Village.”
The wide range of awards presentations this week included Hardware Retailing’s Top Guns, which included a panel discussion offering advice to independent retailers, and the Retailer’s Choice Awards, which allowed retail judges to search the show floor for the products they thought had the best sales potential in their stores.
Winners included Click & Seal by Fluidmaster, Happy Feet by Happy Feet and Spotless Goddess by Boston Warehouse.
Other awards presentations were the Lawn, Garden & Outdoor Innovation awards, whose winners were Leafcat LLC (gold); Nexgrill Industries (silver); Nature Power (bronze) and Bonide (honorable mention), and the Homewares Awards sponsored by HomeWorld Business and featuring Pet Top Products (gold); Brand Marketing & Distribution (silver); Batten Industries, Inc. (bronze) and The Fulhman Group (honorable mention). There were also the New Product Launch Spotlight Awards, with the gold going to Minute Key for Minute Key; silver to Generac Power Systems for the Propane Portable Generator; bronze to Bell Hudson LLC for the Infrared Heater with Remote; and Honorable Mention to Simple Man for the Spyder Bore Blade.
“We are big believers in product innovation,” said Helen Cattaneo, senior vendor manager for Amazon.com’s Tools & Home Improvement store and a judge for the New Product Spotlight Awards. “We have learned from our customers that they are interested in a new selection that stands out and simplifies their lives, as many are early adopters of trends and technology."
The day’s activities also included the second annual Facebook Party sponsored by Organize.com and the Tailgate party in the outdoor Tailgate Pavilion featuring live music, food and free beer courtesy of Corona Beer, the new Official Beer Sponsor of the National Hardware Show.
Corona also distributed logoed T-shirts at the event, while Allegro Foods handed out samples of brisket, chicken and catfish, as well as 300 samples of marinade. In addition, the party featured the presentation of Tailgater Monthly Magazine’s Gameball Awards to Black Top, Cool Cups and Extreme Cooler — each of which received a Wilson Official NFL “The Duke” leather football.
Another highlight of the Tailgate Pavilion was the sweepstakes, which awarded such prizes as two tickets to a Kenny Chesney Concert — courtesy of Corona — a Char-Broil grill, 12 Tervis Tumblers and more.
Chris Matthewson, national sales manager for Jarden Sports Licensing, introduced the new TLG8 line of NFL- and MLB-licensed products in the Tailgate Pavilion this year and was pleased with the show traffic. “Tailgating is a very important category, and we will be adding more products going forward,” Matthewson said. “It’s really grown as a category and is gaining momentum here at the Show and at retail.”