Hipp Hipp Hooray for Independent Dealer
Mountain View, Arkansas-based Hipp Modern Builders Supply, the 2014 HBSDealer Independent Retailer of the Year, made it all the way to the finals of the latest Indie Awards contest – organized by Independent We Stand.
In the end, however, the award – and prizes valued at about $10,000, including $5,000 in cash — went to a Massachusetts scrapbook store.
Out of some 200 nominations, 10 semi-finalists were selected on the basis of online votes, and the ultimate winner was chosen by a panel of contest judges. Gentry Hipp, manager of Hipp Modern Builders Supply, said the experience in itself was rewarding.
“The interaction we had with the customers was very positive,” he said. “We saw an outpouring of support and received good words in the store and online, and you don’t hear enough of those sometimes.”
Hipp Modern Builders Supply, a Do it Best dealer, was the lone hardware store among the contest finalists. The top 10 also included Artsy Fartsy, an art gallery in Carson City, Nevada; and the Fuzzy Goat, a yarn shop in Thomasville, Georgia.
Mountain View, Arkansas, has a population of about 2,700. To thrive in a such small town requires local customer loyalty, Hipp says.
“We’re grateful for the great customer base that we have,” he said. “Business is good. It could always be better, but we’re on track.”
The Indie Award program is run by Independent We Stand, which describes itself as "a movement of independent business owners across the country to inform their communities about the importance of “Buying Local” and how these efforts bolster their local economy. This movement supports all local and national causes committed to boosting local economic development projects. The Independent We Stand movement is co-sponsored by Stihl Inc. and FCA US LLC."
Westlake Ace expands in Wichita
Westlake Ace Hardware has acquired two stores in Wichita, Kansas, increasing its total store count to 98 locations in eight states.
“Westlake Hardware’s vision is to be the best, most helpful hardware stores on the planet,” said Tom Knox, CEO of Westlake. “We are excited to deepen our roots in Wichita and expand our relationship with the community. As we continue to grow, we will always be there to help our customers keep their households running smoothly by providing the highest level of service, know-how, and products.”
The new stores are located at 642 N. Andover Rd. in Andover, Kansas, and 6230 E. Central Ave. in Wichita, Kansas. Both locations were formerly Williams Ace Hardware stores that are in the process of being re-branded as Westlake Ace locations.
While both new stores will sell products like fasteners, tools, plumbing and electric supplies, paint, outdoor living and BBQ products, and lawn and garden supplies, the Andover location will also continue to carry farm & feed supplies.
General Managers have also been named at both locations: Michael Thornton in Wichita, and James Jaeger in Andover.
Westlake Ace has three other locations in Wichita: 3110 E. Douglas, 2559 S. Seneca, and 8829 W. Central.
People of the Year: Steve Synnott
The past 12 months add up to a very big year for Steve Synnott.
The home improvement industry executive oversaw a merger that brought PRO Group and Reliable Distributors together under one roof, forming an entity with an increased competitive advantage and a larger presence in hardware distribution.
The companies announced the deal in October, which will add 74 distributors to the PRO Group network and $2 billion in volume.
Synnott became CEO in 2003. Since he purchased the privately-held company from Gary Cosgrave in 2012, the goal has been steady: to deliver added value to the company’s members. Now, he has high hopes for the merger’s ability to reduce infrastructure costs and other channel costs for member suppliers, distributors and customers.
Additionally, the merger will expand the variety of suppliers and distributors and the synergies among them, boosting purchasing power and product selection in the same breath.
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HBSDealer recognized 15 passionate industry players in our most recent issue. Did we miss anyone? We encourage you to share with us examples of industry leadership in 2016. Write to us at [email protected].