HARDWARE STORES

Orchard Supply responds to big-box pressure

BY Ken Clark

During San Jose, Calif.-based Orchard Supply Hardware’s first-quarter conference call, CEO Mark Baker was asked about challenges posed by Home Depot, which is Baker’s former employer. 

Specifically an analyst brought up Home Depot’s promotional pricing strategies and the implementation of service-boosting program’s at the world’s largest home improvement retailer. “What kind of impact has that had on your expectations of volume?” asked Nick Farwell of the Arbor Group.

Baker, a former chief merchant at Home Depot, credited Home Depot for “doing as well in this current market as we’ll ever expect them.” He added that Orchard is competitive on key items — grills, for instance — that have broad assortments.

Furthermore, surveys indicate the Orchard Supply gets credit from customers as having a higher service component than Home Depot.

However, the comp-store story for the first quarter tilts in favor of Home Depot, which posted positive 5.8% comp-store sales for the first quarter, compared with negative 3.1% for Orchard Supply. 

Despite negative comps in the first quarter, Orchard Supply said May has been “solid,” and the company anticipates positive comp-store sales for the full year. 

Orchard Supply, currently an all-California retailer, plans to expand to the Pacific Northwest in fiscal 2013, Baker said. “The Pacific Northwest is a large and growing garden market. We view this region as a national extension of Orchard’s strong presence and 80-year history in California,” Baker said.

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Cherry Creek store grills its Ace off

BY Ken Clark

In one of the more colorfully named fundraising traditions in all of hardware, a cook out in Colorado raised money for kids. 

The 4th annual Grill Your Ace Off outdoor cooking competition was held at Cherry Creek Ace Hardware in Denver on June 9. Fifteen teams competed for the grand prize, a Big Green Egg ceramic charcoal cooker and bragging rights for the next year.

Cherry Creek Ace Hardware is owned by Andy Carlson of Denver.

Each year, the event is hosted by a Colorado Ace Hardware retailer as a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network and Children’s Hospital Colorado. With proceeds from this event, it’s estimated that Rocky Mountain Ace Hardware store owners have donated more than $50,000 to Children’s Miracle Network so far in 2012.

As for the actual competition, the "Smoke & Spice" team took home the grand prize for their chicken sushi, Korean short ribs and Banh Mi sliders. A team called “Plumb Crazy Smoke" took home the People’s Choice award for their barbecue ribs.

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Hardware Store All-Stars in N.D., Ohio and Okla.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Home Channel News selected 50 hardware stores — one from each state — for inclusion in the second annual Hardware Store All-Star list. The stores distinguish themselves with strong customer service, innovative approaches to retail, and a connection to community and customers.

The alphabetical listing of All-Star stores continues here, with North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma. This trio contains a little something for everyone, and a massive format for DIYers in Ohio.

North Dakota
Mac’s Hardware
Fargo, N.D.
Manager Glenn Metzger said Mac’s dares to be a little different. While it carries a full line of hardware and supplies, it specializes in heavy-duty items for industrial-sized projects, such as pallet racking and skid steer loader attachments. A bargain barn section features an ever-changing assortment of unique and surplus items — from airline seats and exercise equipment, to Humvee tops and road signs.

Ohio
Hartville Hardware
Hartville, Ohio
Owners Howard and Wayne Miller wanted to build a place known as the “destination” for all household needs, remodeling and home building — to become a “must-see place” in northeast Ohio and beyond. At 285,000 sq. ft., the new Hartville Hardware encompasses 18 acres and features a 37,000-sq.-ft. drive-through lumberyard. Full-scale model homes inside the facility sets this store apart. “We wanted to make a statement,” said marketing manager Christa Domer, a fourth-generation Miller. 

Oklahoma
Rock Hollow Stone, Garden & Hardware
Newcastle, Okla.
What started as a sizable rock and stone retail business has evolved into a Do it Best hardware store that also sells giant boulders and a wide selection of landscaping materials. Owner Bob Huddlestone has added kitchen and bath for his female customers, but many of them come just to see the stone waterfall inside the store.

For the complete list of 50 winning retailers, state-by-state, register or log in to Homechannelnews.com.

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