2018 Stihl Hardware All Star — All American (Do it Center)
HARDWARE STORES

Heartland highlights: Wisconsin, Iowa and Kansas

State by state, meet the 2018 class of Stihl Hardware All Stars.

BY HBSDealer Staff

It takes a little more to be a Stihl Hardware All Star.

Each year, HBSDealer solicits nominations from readers and the industry for Hardware All Stars.

And each year, we’re rewarded with a fresh class of high-performing, community-minded, service-oriented businesses worthy of the honor.

During the course of our research, we’ve met dealers who take risks, inspire staff and lift communities — or have what we call the All Star spirit.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 Stihl Hardware All Star honorees. Here’s three stars worth gazing at:


Wisconsin
All American Do it Center

Founded as a lumberyard focusing on contractors, the business has evolved into a one-stop shop for all things building materials and rental equipment. Owner Brian Buswell said his rental business is not only a moneymaker but a solution for customers. And if a customer can’t rent a piece of equipment because it’s unavailable, they get a raincheck and a 20% discount. “This way, customers are more willing to come back,” Buswell said. “People are pretty happy about this policy.”


Iowa
Wasko Do it Best Hardware

Here’s a great way for a hardware store operator to show community commitment: Earn recognition as “Citizen of the Year.” That’s exactly what Susan Wasko earned in 2014 from the Keosauqua. Susan and Joe Wasko of Wasko Do it Best Hardware have a long list of involvement: Chamber of Commerce, Keosauqua Library, Children First — even the Post-Prom Committee. Sales are growing through an enhanced home décor department and a strategic customer loyalty program.


Kansas
Woydziak Hardware

When the Lyons, Kan., Christmas Lights parade hit hard times in 2016, this All-Star store stepped in to save the sparkle. And it worked. The parade had a record 52 floats in 2017 — just one example of the community focus in a town of 3,800. “People here are gung ho on community involvement,” said Jason Huddleston, co-owner with his wife, Danica. “And it helps business as customers realize that we’re not here just to take their money, we’re here to build this community.”

See the full Class of 2018 Hardware All Stars — presented by Stihl — in the May issue of HBSDealer magazine.

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HARDWARE STORES

Around the horn in Las Vegas

The National Hardware Show curated three days of discovery.

BY Ken Clark

Las Vegas The National Hardware Show brought the industry to Las Vegas for three days of networking, learning and, of course, products.

“This year’s show is all about new,” said Rich Russo, VP of the National Hardware Show, in his opening day remarks. “From our logo and branding to 500-plus new exhibitors, there are new experiences everywhere you turn and new products to bring back to your stores.”

All told, some 2,800 exhibitors were on hand to welcome the hardware industry to the show. One of those attendees was Martin Prus, owner of Abbotsford Paint & Decorating. “I’ve been coming to the show for 12 years,” he said. “We’re always looking for new products and seeing how we can expand on what we have.”

One post can’t hold the event’s vastness, but above are some of the sights seen in Las Vegas.

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2018 Stihl Hardware All Star — Tri State Building Center (South Dakota)
HARDWARE STORES

Building business in Minnesota and the Dakotas

State by state, meet the 2018 class of Stihl Hardware All Stars.

BY HBSDealer Staff

It takes a little more to be a Stihl Hardware All Star.

Each year, HBSDealer solicits nominations from readers and the industry for Hardware All Stars.

And each year, we’re rewarded with a fresh class of high-performing, community-minded, service-oriented businesses worthy of the honor.

During the course of our research, we’ve met dealers who take risks, inspire staff and lift communities — or have what we call the All Star spirit.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 Stihl Hardware All Star honorees. Here’s three stars worth gazing at:


South Dakota
Tri State Building Center

Brett Hanson decided to go the pro dealer route and purchased a lumberyard in 2011. A year later, the former builder bought the neighborhood hardware store in Sisseton, soon combining the businesses under one roof. “The ‘little hardware’ part of it just started growing, and we saw the community needed more,” Hanson said. Within a year, sales tripled at Tri State Building Center and have grown tenfold since. “We were contractors so we have an understanding how contractors our think,” Hanson explained. “That helps us when we communicate with customers.”


North Dakota
S&J Hardware

Founded by Vern Slettend and Art Johnson in 1965, new owner Gary Larson and his team are constantly adjusting their seasonal product in this Garrison All Star. When store manager Gerald Cain quips, “We’re the only game in town,” he’s not kidding. Garrison-based S&J is the lone hardware store in a town of 1,500 that doubles in size during the summer when visitors flock to Lake Sakakawea, located two miles from the store. S&J takes full advantage of the lake business with fishing, boating and camping gear. “We do everything under the sun here,” Cain said. That also means dressing the entire staff in Victorian garb for the Charles Dickens Village Festival that runs for three weekends following Thanksgiving.


Minnesota
Mound True Value

Mound True Value is famous for its free popcorn, but that’s just the beginning for this 2017 True Value-designated Best Hardware Store in Town. “Customer service is obviously the big one,” said T.J. Skinner, manager of the 13,000-sq.-ft. store. “And we take pride in keeping everything neat and clean.” The clean machine is a purveyor of big brands and live events, such as its Garden Party, Holiday Open House, Kids Day and Ladies Night.

See the full Class of 2018 Hardware All Stars — presented by Stihl — in the May issue of HBSDealer magazine.

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