Hardware Store All Stars: Maryland & Hawaii
Selecting 50 All Stars never gets any easier, and in 2015, HBSDealer editors were faced with an embarrassment of riches when it came to qualified candidates.
After the nominations were in, it was a matter of finding the retailer with a little extra — be it exceptional service, an unusual market niche, or perhaps just a really great story.
The April issue of Hardware + Building Supply Dealer magazine contains the full list of 2015 honorees. Here are more highlights, two states at a time, of the class of 2015.
Annapolis, Maryland: K&B True Value
Though K&B recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, it certainly packs a lot into a small space: not only is there over 200 years of collective experience amongst its current staff, but its sales floor is home to more than 25,000 SKUs.
K&B gets its rap as a go-to destination for bird food and home cleaning products, but the retailer says its community involvement has been key to its success.
"Several times a year, the store gives space to area non-profit organizations from the SPCA to the Oyster Recovery Project to the Lighthouse Shelter (local homeless shelter) to help them spread the word and raise funds," said marketing manager Jennifer Johnson. "We have a popcorn machine that local scout troops and kids sports organizations set up in the store on Saturdays to help them raise funds. K&B has also helped local schools receive paint grants from True Value’s Painting a Brighter Future and donated the painting supplies. Every fall, we run a 'Cash for Schools' program were a portion of every sale is donated to the customer’s local school of choice."
K&B also excels in energy efficiency thanks to an extensive solar panel system on its roof. They also participate in rain barrel/composter events and provide battery and light bulb recycling services.
Multiple locations, Hawaii: Pioneer Ace Hardware
Pioneer Ace Hardware manages to be all things to all people — or at least come very close.
As Ace's Honolulu outpost, Pioneer Ace Hardware has earned a reputation among locals as the go-to destination of all of one's obscure home improvement needs — especially those hard-to-find replacement parts. Customers get what they need at a good price, and that's not even mentioning the time and frustration savings they get from dealing with an astute retailer.
Of course, all of that hard-to-find stock would be worth little without quick, convenient service. Going the extra mile means getting a bit of know-how on that plumbing project you're shopping for.
The 2015 Hardware Store All Stars series is sponsored by Epicor.
Report: Lowe’s pulls a flooring line
Last week, a short seller on the website Seeking Alpha wrote an article under the headline: "Lowe's laminate flooring may have issues similar to Lumber Liquidators."
Zhou's articles on Lumber Liquidators sparked a rash of bad publicity, concern over excessive formaldehyde levels and a 60 Minutes expose on the company.
A few days later, according to a report on the Business Insider website, Lowe's is no longer selling a line of flooring — its Tecsun line. The specific line of Lowe's flooring was available only online.
In the Seeking Alpha report last week, short seller Xuhua Zhou wrote: “New evidence has come to my attention that Lumber Liquidators may not have been the lone violator when it comes to laminate floor sourcing. Lowe’s, a behemoth in home improvement, has been selling similar questionable products as recent as late March.”
Lowe's stopped selling its Tecsun line of flooring, according to a Business Insider article that appeared Monday. The article quoted Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb: "We require our suppliers to comply with government health and safety regulations including CARB regulations – some of the strictest air quality regulations in the world," Cobb wrote.
Golden Hammer Update: tribute to ROY winners
Now in its 31st year, the Golden Hammer Awards ceremony will take place in the heart of the National Hardware Show — on the show floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The event has a long history of recognizing the best of the best of home improvement for both vendors and retailers. In the modern history of the Golden Hammer, the following retailers have been recognized as “Retailer of the Year:”
2014: Stine Home & Yard;
2013: Rocky’s Ace Hardware;
2012: Aubuchon Hardware Co.;
2011: Westlake Ace Hardware;
2010: Marvin’s Building Materials & Home Centers;
2009: Orgill (Retail Partner of the Year);
2007: Tractor Supply Co.
2006: The Home Depot
In 2015, Hardware + Building Supply Dealer will recognize Orchard Supply Hardware as “Retailer of the Year.”
The ceremony, presented in partnership with the National Hardware Show, is designed to recognize “the best of the best” of home improvement. The event is set for May 5 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Channel Leaders Club Lounge area in the Central Hall near booth #3055.
Also during the ceremony, retail awards will be presented to Golden Hammer Hall of Fame award to Joe Scarlett, retired chairman of Tractor Supply Co.; and and Tools of the Trade award winner Shell Lumber & Hardware.
All retailers and vendors are invited to take part in the awards, refreshments and networking.
The National Hardware Show is slated for May 5-7.