DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

New additions at House-Hasson Hardware

BY HBSDealer Staff

Knoxville, Tennessee-based House-Hasson added sales staff in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Louisiana to serve the company’s existing independent hardware store dealers and to grow its business in those states, the company said.

Don Hasson, president of the 110-year-old family-owned company, said that with the number of acquisition prospects dwindling, growing “the old-fashioned way” is the company’s strategy for the future.

Currently, the distributor serves more than 2,000 dealers in 18 states and the Caribbean region.

“For a number of years we were able to make strategic acquisitions that brought about substantial growth in dealers and sales,” Hasson said. “We weren’t the only ones in that hunt. The outcome is that, today there are very few, if any, independent hardware distributors that  present strong acquisition opportunities.”

House-Hasson has carried out five acquisitions since 1988, the most recent of which was the 2015 purchase of Long-Lewis Hardware of Birmingham, Ala., which resulted in a new regional manager; 10 new sales staff members; and 150, 18-wheeler truckloads of merchandise coming into the House-Hasson fold.

“Such large infusions of territory, staff, and goods just aren’t in the cards in today’s environment,” Hasson said. “We’re taking another path.”

House-Hasson is beefing up its sales staff in high growth potential areas, he said. So far, new salesman additions are one in Florida from Tampa to the panhandle, one in the western portion of Pennsylvania, and three working western Louisiana.

“We always have our eye toward the northern U.S. because that’s been our best growth region for a long time,” Hasson said. “At the same time, Florida’s size is an attraction; from a hardware and lumberyard standpoint it’s almost like a country. Louisiana is a market that we expect will be very productive.”

He said the bankruptcy and sale of a smaller competitor that worked in Louisiana has opened the door to acquiring new customers.

“Hiring salesmen who know and understand the markets is a key ingredient to building business in every state,” Hasson said. “The number of our sales staff varies over time; today it’s about 70. They’re not order-takers: they’re consultants working with dealers to build their stores’ profitability.”

House-Hasson dealer customers include Trustworthy Hardware stores, independent hardware stores and lumber yards, Sentry Hardware stores, and Priced Right Everyday stores.

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Guardian consolidates and expands

BY HBSDealer Staff

Guardian Building Products says it is consolidating its Joplin, Missouri, facility into the recently acquired Hawkeye Building Distributors facility, also in Joplin.

At 48,000 square feet, the new center has more than double the inside storage capacity of the existing distribution center.

“We have worked diligently to ensure a seamless transition between these two Joplin facilities,” said Joplin Branch Manager David Fields. “Our larger space increases our service and product depth for our customers. We look forward to responding with ‘yes’ when they ask for a new item.”

A significant remodel of the DC, including replacing all warehouse lighting and updating the office space, is currently underway. Significant improvements are also being made to the outdoor storage area – when complete, nearly three acres will be available for outdoor storage.

The new facility has an approximate 200-mile service radius, and will serve all customers, reaching west to Tulsa, Oklahoma; east to St. Louis, Missouri; south to Fort Smith, Arkansas; and north to meet GBP’s Kansas City distribution center service area. Delivery schedules have been reorganized so that every customer in the coverage area can receive delivery two times per week.

Products available through the newly combined Joplin facility will include roofing products and accessories, insulation products, gypsum products, siding products, decking products and more.

The conversion to the new site will be complete by the end of the month.

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A VP retires from Ace Hardware Corp.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Rick Whitson, VP-distribution, will retire from Ace after 37 years with the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company.

Rick has a long history of contributions in the Retail Support area. During his career, Rick directed the operational start-up of the La Crosse, Yakima (now Moxee) and Princeton Retail Support Centers (RSCs). Rick also ran each of these RSCs, in particular, the Princeton RSC, for many years.

Several of the RSC initiatives we have today — containerization, voice pick with scanning, RSC slotting software and the SAP implementation within the RSCs — were led by Rick. In addition, under Rick’s tenure as Vice President – Distribution, he led the opening of the Wilmer and West Jefferson Retail Support Centers. Theses RSCs were successfully opened within the same year — a first for Ace.

The effective date of the retirement is Dec. 31.

According to the co-op: “Rick is known for his steady hand, his deep knowledge of distribution processes, and for his passion for serving Ace retailers. Rick plans to spend his retirement enjoying his grandsons and continuing his volunteer efforts.”
 

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