A new CEO steps in at Handy Hardware
Members of the Houston-based Handy Hardware co-op received an e-mail message Thursday afternoon from Kenneth White, a partner at consulting firm Tatum, announcing that White will assume the post of CEO.
Several weeks ago, Handy’s board of directors hired Tatum to "assess the critical operating, financial and IT related issues currently facing Handy Hardware," according to Thursday’s letter. The board voted to accept Tatum’s action plan.
Tina Kirbie will remain as president, responsible primarily for member-dealer relations. However, departmental heads previously reporting to Kirbie will report to White. "Tina has been and will continue to be the ‘face of Handy,’" according to White’s letter.
On April 11, Handy issued a press release announcing its 4.1% first quarter sales increase. In the same release, the co-op pointed to problems with the transition to a new computer operating system.
“We have gotten past the worst of this transition and our numbers are climbing back up to our historical service level marks,” Kirbie said in the April 11 release.
Handy Hardware recently opened a distribution center in Meridian, Miss., its second.
Tatum describes itself as a consulting firm that blends interim executive services, executive consulting and executive search, with expertise in financial matters and technology projects.
Pongs Do it Best has big plans in Indonesia
Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. signed a deal that will bring the Do it Best brand to Indonesia for the first time. The deal also landed Do it Best a partnership with Paulus Ong, who helped grow Ace Indonesia from three stores in 1999 to 45 stores in 2011.
Grand openings are planned for Aug. 3 for the first four Pongs Do it Best Hardware stores in Jakarta.
“This is part of our Extreme Growth plans as we continue to expand our footprint internationally,” said Bob Taylor, president and CEO of Do it Best. “This signing brings our international presence to 50 countries, and we continue to look for new opportunities world-wide.”
Paulus Ong, former director of operations for ACE Indonesia, received exclusive rights to the Do it Best brand in Indonesia in the deal announced this week. Ong’s plan calls for the opening of four stores in Jakarta, measuring a combined 100,000 sq. ft., in August. According to Do it Best, Ong’s long-term plan is to open a total of 40 Do it Best stores with a combined square footage of 500,000 sq. ft., over the next five years. Pongs Do it Best Hardware stores will consist of three formats: convenience stores, super stores and hyper stores.
Do it Best points to three major strategic initiatives
Indianapolis — Do it Best Corp. CEO Bob Taylor presented three major co-op initiatives — including an aggressive recruitment strategy — to members assembled here for the 2011 Do it Best May Market at the Indiana Convention Center.
The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op has created a new Do it Best Advantage Program designed to attract new members in the United States and internationally. It’s offering certain converts a "performance satisfaction guarantee." And thirdly, the co-op is beginning the process of redesigning its e-commerce and online ordering tools into what it calls a "World Class Commerce Center."
The Advantage Member recruitment program will be led by Gary Hoffman, supported by a newly created staff of five.
Related to the recruitment efforts, the company’s field staff is getting a name change. Instead of "Retail development specialists," they are taking the title "sales and business development specialists." The change better reflects the diverse businesses in the Do it Best fold — from hardware retailers to pro lumberyards to industrial and commercial distributors, Taylor said.
The co-op’s Performance Satisfaction Guarantee applies to new converts. Here’s how it works: If during the first three years of conversion from their former co-op, the premier member wants to go back to their former co-op, Do it Best will help with the conversion and pay out 10% of their average annual warehouse purchase.
"We want to make sure they understand that we’re serious about this, and that we’re going to put our money behind the promise," Taylor told Home Channel News. He added that he doesn’t expect to pay out.
On the e-commerce front, Taylor said Marty Baily will lead the initiative to bring the co-op’s four sites — doitbest.com, mydoitbest.com, channellockproducts.com and the company’s industrial-commercial website — into a more efficient sales catalog and online merchandising tool.
The co-op’s 2011 May Market draws to a conclusion May 23.