Hardware Store All-Stars: New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
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 New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
New York: "Age before beauty" is what they say, but Kelloggs & Lawrence Do it Best in Katonah might have both of those things working in its favor. The general store-type local has been a community fixture for a whopping 125 years — one of the current staffmembers, Jeff, is the great grandson of founder Henry Kellogg. Owners Bart and Diana Tyler help bring tourism to the area — as well as revenue to their store — with high-end home goods, fireplaces, grills and camping supplies.
New Jersey: Billing itself as the discounted Benjamin Moore store, McGrath’s Paint & Hardware plays neighborhood hardware joint, big brand discount location and alluring big box alternative in three locations across New Jersey. As one of the largest Benjamin Moore dealers in New Jersey, the store fills its niche well with a complete product assortment and professional Design Color Consultants to assist customers with their decor planning — in-store or in the home.
Pennsylvania: It’s fair to say that Bomberger’s Store in Lititz earns the title of overall crowd-pleaser. Involvement in local parades, the Farm Show, and youth football and baseball teams throughout the community isn’t the only reason, but those things certainly don’t hurt. Customers who manage to make it past the full-service in-store cafe (serving gourmet coffee and pastry) will encounter a dedicated kitchen and floor covering segment with multiple displays, as well as a hearty representation of big brands like Craftsman and John Deere. Not only was it named one of Ace’s "Coolest Hardware Stores" in 2012 — the city of Lititz was named one of America’s Coolest Small Towns by Budget Travel.
Next week, HCN will highlight All-Stars in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.
True Value names three new executives
Chicago-based True Value Co., which took on a new CEO in May, announced the arrival of three new executives to the co-op’s leadership team.
The restructuring brings Ken Goodgame, a former Ace executive, to True Value as senior VP and chief merchandising officer. He will replace Mike Clark, who announced his retirement. Also, Abhinav Shukla joins True Value as senior VP and COO; and Tim Mills becomes the company’s new senior VP of growth.
Shukla was most recently with AlixPartners, where he focused on global supply chain and performance for Fortune 500 companies. Mills was most recently VP and general manager for the Power Solutions division of HD Supply, which also formerly employed True Value’s new President and CEO John Hartmann.
"These three new leaders will help us move more quickly and be more nimble as we focus on increasing our value and elevating our performance for both our customers and our shareholders," Hartmann said.
True Value announced the moves along with an emphasis on its plans for growth — particularly of its Destination True Value retail format. The co-op said it intends to continue the expansion of DTV across the country by ensuring financial support will continue. The co-op supplied $25.5 million in loans for new stores and another $38.5 million in loans to refresh current stores in the past six years.
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In an interview with HCN following the announcement, Hartmann said, “if I were a member, I’d want to know that our leadership is thinking about the future of our organization, and that’s exactly what we’re doing today.”
The changes come in tandem with an aggressive strategic planning process, he added. The planning involves a focus on improving retail sales, retailer profitability and the overall health of the co-op while providing “meaningful support to the consumer.”
Gross billings up 1.4% at True Value
Chicago-based True Value Co. reported gross billings of $455.1 million for the quarter ended Sept. 28, an increase of 1.4% from $448.9 million for the same period a year ago.
Revenue was $346.5 million, an increase of 2.0% or $6.9 million from $339.6 million a year ago. Comparable-store sales to core domestic hardware store outlets were up 2.8% at wholesale and 4.5% at retail for the quarter.
The cooperative posted a quarterly net margin of $18.7 million, an increase of 21.4%, or $3.3 million, versus $15.4 million one year ago. In 2013 alone, 25 new DTV stores have opened and 34 stores have remodeled to the co-op’s proven DTV format.
“We had a solid third quarter," said president and CEO John Hartmann. "We have rebounded from the lackluster spring selling season, which affected most of the country, and are gaining traction with our retailers’ who are adding our new farm, ranch, auto and pet products in their stores. These popular categories are driving incremental business, up more than 17% so far this year.”
For the nine months ended Sept. 28, True Value reported gross billings of $1,442.7 million, an increase of 0.7%, or $9.7 million, from $1,433.0 million for the same period a year ago. Revenue was $1,070.8 million, an increase of 1.2%, or $12.2 million, from $1,058.6 million a year ago.
Comparable-store sales to core domestic hardware store outlets were up 2.0% in the nine-month period. The 2013 year-to-date net margin was $42.9 million, down 6.3%, or $2.9 million, from $45.8 million one year ago. Total debt of $204.3 million was down $1.5 million from one year ago.
“Our strong profit increase in the quarter was the result of the volume increase and favorable mix and margin rates in the home, seasonal and tool departments,” said Hartmann.