DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

New CEO enters spotlight in Chicago

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago — During his first general session speech to the assembled body of True Value dealers, CEO John Hartmann expressed a willingness to embrace change.

He started by announcing a symbolic change at the True Value headquarters, which will be known from now on as the "Retail Support Center." 

Hartmann’s background includes positions at Home Depot (which also describes its headquarters as "The Retail Support Center), HD Supply and New Zealand hardware co-op Mitre 10. He is also a former field agent of the FBI. He took over as CEO on May 31, replacing the now retired Lyle Heidemann.

"In retail, staying the same is actually going backwards," the new CEO told dealers. "We need to lead change."

He added: "We must change faster to support our membership more directly than we ever have in the past," Hartmann said.  

Since taking the helm, Hartmann says he has traveled extensively to meet with members. "You shared with me back that in your opinion, we followed too much," Hartmann said. "You said, ‘John, we need to lead. We need to set our own course.’ And I couldn’t agree more."

Hartmann delivered his address here at the 2013 True Value Reunion in front of an audience of about 5,000 people. He generated spontaneous applause when he explained the co-op was looking for ways to make it easier for existing store members to adopt the Destination True Value store concept and other store upgrades.

He also referred to a project to create a "true one-on-one approach to marketing" for members. He added that he is committed to building a more responsive culture along with the three pillars of engagement, growth and efficiency.

Hartmann said he will be focused in the coming months on putting together the details of a strategic plan to map out the next five to 10 years. 

To vendors, Hartmann offered his "personal commitment to continue to engage them on the development of our strategic plan."

To retailers, he said:  "We have a terrific solid foundation to build on. We’re a recognized brand. We have a large number of passionate retailers committed to their organization." But, he added, "We have plenty to do."

 

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Hardware Store All-Stars: Montana, Wyoming and Colorado

BY HBSDEALER Staff

HCN congratulates the 50 hardware store, home center and farm & 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 Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

Montana: When it comes to Missoula’s Montana Ace-Trempers, it’s kind of a long story. Owner Stewart Weis gives us the long of it on his store’s website, which is to say, in a nutshell, that big-box competition closed one door for his family in Chicago and opened another far more inviting one in Montana. Founded on his fortuitous move, Montana Ace -Trempers is now, at 38,500 square feet, one of the biggest Ace stores in the nation. As further proof that he made the right move, Montana Ace-Trempers has been voted best hardware store for eight consecutive years by the Missoula Independent’s Best of Missoula Poll.

Wyoming: Fancy a pair of new boots? Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply, scattered throughout multiple locations in Wyoming, is a requisite hardware-store-cum-farm&ranch-destination. Carrying everything from cowboy boots to veterinary supplies to corny farm-themed jokes on its website, Murdoch’s is the kind of concept that is born on the back of the napkin and comes to fruition as a cornerstone of its community.

Colorado: Joseph’s Do it Best Hardware, situated in Fort Collins, is a bit of an over-achiever. With exceeded marketplace expectations and a forward-looking prospect of further expansion opportunities, the community favorite lives and dies by its level of engagement. The store sponsors popular Handy Women’s classes run by employees, who also maintain the lively spirit of the location through collaborative and creative merchandising.

Next week, HCN will highlight All-Stars in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All Stars, click here.

 

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True Value hosts Reunion in Chicago

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago — True Value Company kicked off its annual fall market here in Chicago with the promise of a "new market experience."

The Sept. 20-22 event is branded as the co-op’s "Reunion," with adjustments to the schedule and show floor layout — and most notably, new leadership. The event will be the first market for new CEO John Hartmann, and dealers will also get to mingle with chairman of the board Brent Burger. 

"For three enlightening days, we’ll present a unique toolbox of resources, designed to help you better serve your customers while remaining competitive in the marketplace," said Hartmann, in a letter to attendees. 

On the exhibit floor, a Town Center area is expected to be a hub of networking for dealers, and one of the more conspicuous changes to the flow of the show. The event’s general session kicks off Friday at 4:15 p.m.

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