Indiana governor honors Don Wolf
Indianapolis — Retired Do it Best Corp. CEO Don Wolf re-entered the spotlight Sunday night at the co-op’s October market shareholder meeting.
Wolf received the state’s highest honor — the Sachem Award for leadership and character — hand-delivered by Governor Mike Pence.
Wolf guided Hardware Wholesale, the forerunner of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp., from a $35 million business in 1967 to his retirement in 1992, when the company’s sales were $1.25 billion. The governor also praised Wolf’s community involvement, saying Wolf “personifies everything that is good about this country, Indiana and this organization.”
In his acceptance remarks, Wolf thanked the dealers and the Do it Best employees, past and present. “All of you made this happen,” Wolf said. “You took this corporate philosophy to serve others as you like to be served, and you’ve done so much for your communities.”
Wolf is founder of The Study Connection, providing volunteer tutors to Fort Wayne students. He is also co-founder of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Fort Wane. And he was the 1993 Indiana Business Leader of the Year.
The Sachem award is named for an Algonquin term for revered leaders and is given annually to a leader who shows character, judgment and other qualities. Past winners include baseball player/banker Carl Erskine, basketball legend John Wooden and philanthropist Jane Blaffer Owen.
Do it Best market revs up in Indy
Indianapolis — Do it Best Corp. members appear to be buying into the idea of a recovery. At the co-op’s October Market here, which runs through Oct. 21, sales of Sneak Peak merchandise amounted to $8.8 million in 90 minutes, a new record.
“The October market always provides our members a wealth of opportunities to learn, connect and plan for the year ahead,” said Do it Best Corp. President and CEO Bob Taylor.
Another highlight of the event is expected to be the Sunday night shareholders meeting, during which rebate checks will be handed out to member. Total member rebates for the year totaled $116.4 million, an increase over 2012 and marking the 10th consecutive year they’ve exceeded $100 million.
This year’s rebate total included five Do it Best Corp. members who each received rebates of more than $1 million.
On Friday afternoon, dealers were presented with a Merchandising Market Preview, revealing product highlights. Among them were new skus in the farm and ranch and pet area, including John Deere apparel. Also introduced were tools and planograms to boost light bulb sales, and the introduction of GE Appliances and AGA Marvel appliances to the Do it Best mix, to name a few.
At the market preview, VP of Merchandising Steve Markley described a new emphasis at the market on Do it Best’s home Impressions home décor brand, which is being organized at the market in a single area for full effect. “We think many of you will be surprised, “ Markley said. “We think this is a brand that is undervalued.”
Member registrations and store representation are both up compared to last year, according to event organizers. Pre-registration for the fall market’s nearly 30 Education Day seminars, held on Oct. 18, was also up over last year’s numbers.
Hardware Store All-Stars: Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana
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 Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Missouri: Oak Hill Hardware & Paint Company is an uncontested favorite in the St. Louis community — big-store comprehensiveness in a small-store format helped it become Riverfront Times’ Best Hardware Store of 2012. It certainly fits the bill for All-Star-level customer service, and it’s been helping the community find the things they didn’t realize they needed since 1931.
Arkansas: Hilltop Ace Hardware in Jonesboro is certainly more accessible than the competing Lowe’s, but it comes out on top for reasons other than having what the community needs — which certainly helps its case. It’s having what the community needs while successfully filtering out all the useless filler that it doesn’t. The result is a friendly, neighborhood hardware store that’s easy to navigate and knows you well.
Louisiana: When Denney Braswell of Budget Build Home Center True Value decided to revamp his 15-year-old business, he went with the Destination True Value format that’s worked its charm on so many other businesses. Also working in the favor of the Ferriday, La., store is its new-and-improved paint display and lawn and garden section — the former of which saw tripled sales in the past year. Extra points are awarded for a social media campaign that includes the creation of a viral YouTube video of store employees swatting at mosquitos.
For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.