DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Hardware Store All-Stars: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island

BY HBSDEALER Staff

HCN congratulates the 50 hardware store, home center and farm and ranch retailers who made the annual HCN Hardware Store All-Star list.

Now in its third year, HCN’s annual list of high performers recognizes hardware stores — one from each state — that are outstanding in their field. The complete list and analysis can be found in the September issue of HCN. Meanwhile, HCN Daily will work its way across the country with mini profiles, continuing this week with Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Massachusetts: If anyone understands the star-quality appeal of a happy employee, it’s Lauren and Marilyn Baskin of Baskin’s True Value in South Yarmouth. It’s been in the family for over 30 years, but in many ways, that family has come to encompass its loyal staff. From the average manager, who’s been there for about 20 years, all the way down to the floor employee running on an average of 10 years with the store, it’s a strong staff with the knowledge and power to make informed decisions. What’s their secret? Great benefits, which include a complete healthcare package, certainly don’t hurt.

Connecticut: Owner Scott Pesavento began his hardware retailing education early — at the tender age of 14, he was spending nights and weekends learning the family business from his father. But that’s not the only reason why Fairfield’s Hemlock Hardware is all-star material. Pesavento puts employees front and center with monthly store meetings and a collaborative spirit that engages the whole team. A complimentary fertilizer application service for his customers is a nice touch too.

Rhode Island: In Rhode Island, Wyoming Hardware Do it Best owner Rick Osborne describes his business style as “a retailer first, and a hardware guy second.” For instance, when the economy started to turn bad six years ago, Osborne sat down with a pad and paper and looked objectively at where to cut.

“We had to have a plan,” he told HCN. “We had to rein in the inventory. We certainly don’t believe in out of stocks, but we had to make a change.”

Fast action in the down years helped pave the way for the store to ride the recovery today. Wyoming Hardware is a member of Lets Buy Local, Buy Local RI and Independent We Stand, as well as the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. Check out Rick’s friendly message here.

Next week, HCN will highlight All-Stars in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.

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Ben’s Supercenter announces Ace affiliation and expansion

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ben’s Supercenter, located in Brown City and Marlette, Mich., has announced that its stores will affiliate with Ace Hardware and expand to a third location in Marlette.

Ben’s Supercenter, a third-generation family business lead by second-generation owner Jim Zyrowski, was established in 1965. The stores offer farm and pet supply products and full-scale grocery departments, including a deli, bakery and Butcher Shop, plus local produce. Additionally, Ben’s Supercenter stores offer in-store dining, movie rentals, Ehardt’s Pharmacies and Tri-County Bank branches.

“With Ace, we see significant growth in our future,” Zyrowski said. “We were instantly attracted to the power of the Ace name, as well as the marketing and advertising opportunities that are now available to us.”

The newest Ben’s Supercenter is expected to open November 2013 and will be located at 6541 Plaza Dr. in Marlette, Mich. 

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Hardware Store All-Stars: Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire

BY HBSDEALER Staff

HCN congratulates the 50 hardware store, home center and farm and ranch retailers who made the annual HCN Hardware Store All-Star list.

Now in its third year, HCN’s annual list of high performers recognizes hardware stores — one from each state — that are outstanding in their field. The complete list and analysis can be found in the September issue of HCN. Meanwhile, HCN Daily will work its way across the country with mini profiles, continuing this week with Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Vermont: There’s a Home Depot 22 miles in either direction of J & H Hardware Do it Best in Bellows Falls, Vt. But manager Jeremy Haskins is quick to point out his real competition: “Taxes.”

“We’re right on the border of New Hampshire, so our real competition is tax,” he told HCN, referring to his border state’s tax-free sales environment. 

Haskins, who was a 2011 Young Retailer of the Year honoree from the National Retail Hardware Association, says the store’s focus is on service first, and product mix second. The store has grown from 3,400 sq. ft. to 12,000 over the past few years, and a healthy sporting goods department attracts footsteps. 

“My goal is to allow you to walk in and get everything to do your project,” he said. “We have more than 3,000 loyalty card holders, and we’re even adding them in New Hampshire,” he said. 

Maine: As if a 30% increase in sales weren’t enough, the recent remodel at Ames True Value Hardware & Supply in Wiscasset helped owner Wayne Averill further tailor his offerings to meet the needs of the local farm & ranch community. Of course, promising numbers aren’t the only thing that sends this location to the all-star ranks: Averill is an active community member who sponsors the Sheepscot Valley Family Festival, and he’s got a relatively large social media following thanks to his savvy use of the internet.

New Hampshire: Billed as the place that has everything you need, Goffstown Ace Hardware (in Goffstown, N.H.) combines market knowledge with a personable flair. If you’re on Facebook, you can follow the antics of store employees and rack up inspiration for seasonally appropriate DIY projects. Bonus points for getting involved with PutnamFuel’s More Energy for Family Moments outreach campaign, which invests in the Salvation Army as well as the surrounding community.

For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.

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