HARDWARE STORES

House-Hasson sees big increase in store sets

BY Ken Clark

Knoxville, Tenn.-based distributor House-Hasson Hardware says it is seeing almost twice the level of store sets — new or expanded stores — in 2012, compared with the 2011 rate.

“We’ve seen 2012 emerge as one of our best years in terms of helping people become hardware store owners and dealers,” said Don Hasson, president of House-Hasson.

In 2011, House-Hasson performed 15 of what are called “store sets.” In 2012, that number will grow to more than 30. The company expects 2013 to be even more active, according to Dave Helfenberger, House-Hasson’s VP marketing. The square footage of new or larger stores is increasing substantially as well, according to the company.

Surprisingly, one reason is the weak economy. 

“Some of the problems in the economy make it easier to open or expand a hardware or lumber business,” Helfenberger said. “Many commercial buildings have been sitting empty for a long time. It’s a buyer’s market. Properties are selling or renting at reasonable or historically low prices.

“Store owners are negotiating very good rates per square foot, from $10 to $15 down to $3 to $5. What I recommend is that they ask for six months free and six months half-price. It’s remarkable how often they get it. Most store sets have traditionally been between 3,000 sq. ft. and 5,000 sq. ft.; this year they’re more than double that because of the low prices. We’re doing two that are more than 25,000 sq. ft., and one is 137,000 sq. ft.”

House-Hasson is a 105-year-old, family owned company that serves some 2,000 dealers in 17 states and the Caribbean. The distributor’s sales are about $200 million annually.

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Store celebrates 140 years

BY Ken Clark

Dating back almost to the Great Fire of Chicago, Stauber’s Ace Hardware turned 140 years old in 2012.

Founded in 1872 by Louis Stauber, a Swiss immigrant, in Chicago one year after the Chicago fire ravaged the city. The store was relocated more than 100 years ago to the Northcenter area of Chicago, where it currently does business today.

In the early 1900s, the store become one of the first in Chicago to sell Harley Davidson motorcycles.

William Stauber, the son of the founder Louis, went on to found Ace Hardware Corp. with three other hardware store owners in 1924. Stauber’s Ace Hardware is still family owned and operated by Steve Stauber the great grandson of the founder.

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Rocky’s holds Second Annual Pet Food drive

BY Ken Clark

Through a partnership with Nutro Pet Foods, Springfield, Mass.-based Rocky’s Ace Hardware and customers are helping homeless and abandoned pets.

Each of the 33 Rocky’s Ace Hardware stores have partnered with an area Humane Society or Shelter to collect food this Holiday Season for the much forgotten and unfortunate animals in our own community. “This is a fantastic opportunity for concerned individuals to help innocent animals without having to make a separate trip to their area Animal Shelter or Humane Society,” said Rocco Falcone, president and CEO. 

Here is how the program works: Customers make donations of much-needed pet food at their local Rocky’s Ace Hardware store; specially marked signs and a collection basket will guide customers to the collection area. The stores will then in turn collect all donations and drive them to their locally chosen charity. Nutro Pet Foods has partnered with Rocky’s in donating more than $1,500 worth of premium dog and cat food to kickstart the program. Donations will be delivered directly to the Shelter or Humane Society on or about Dec. 24, 2012. 

Last year, the first annual pet food drive resulted in more than 4,000 lbs. of food and many toys, pet beds and other needed accessories being donated to a long list of worthy humane societies and animal shelters. “This year our drive has been lengthened by one week. Although last year’s numbers were fabulous, we hope to surpass that this year,” said Geoffrey Webb, director of marketing and advertising.

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