PACE recognizes Ace
Oak Brook, Illinois-based Ace Hardware has been honored with an award from the Professional Association for Customer Experience (PACE).
Ace has earned the Customer Experience Award for Corporate Customer Commitment.
The first-ever award of its kind, this recognition is given to individual companies that demonstrate exceptional experiences for their customers, employees and community. It is designed to recognize the best and the brightest in the customer engagement industry, according to the announcement.
“Ace Hardware is honored to accept the first-ever PACE CXE Award for Corporate Customer Commitment,” said Jimmy Alexander, Senior Vice President, Customer Care. “For more than 90 years, Ace has been dedicated to delivering a level of customer service that truly amazes our customers, not only within our stores and at our corporate office, but in the communities we serve.”
Rebates take center stage in Indy
Indianapolis — Do it Best Corp. distributed more than a $100 million in member rebates during the co-op's annual shareholders meeting Sunday night.
It was the 11th consecutive year of $100 million-plus rebates, and another chance for CEO Bob Taylor to present his state-of-the company report — emphasis on members growing their business and overcoming challenges.
Fiscal discipline factored heavily in the presentation, as Taylor pointed to an industry-leading sales per employee of $1.9 million and a one-time, under-budget opening of a Sikeston, Missouri, distribution center. Discipline held operating expenses for the year to 2.05% after inventory capitalization, enabling the year-end rebate of $115.4 million, Taylor said.
"At the end of the day, it all comes down to how we manage overhead," Taylor said. "And we’ve done a phenomenal job in keeping our operating costs low so that our members’ return is even higher — a return that allows them to invest in new inventory, store growth and opportunity for the future."
So far this year, Do it Best sales are running up about 8%, he said.
"Judging from my conversations and the activity out on the market floor this weekend, members are clearly optimistic and focused forward," Taylor said. "The housing market is steadily improving, business is up, and you’re busy making plans to take advantage of the opportunity."
Taylor celebrated remodeled stores and boosted sales at Rogers Do it Best in Sparta, Michigan; Huntington Lumber in Hazelhurst, Mississippi; and Escalante (Utah) Do it Best Home Center. Special mention went to Building Depot Do it Best of Curacao, which was devastated by a fire, and will reopen in November with more product and retail space of 220,000 sq. ft.
Other points from the wide-ranging presentation include:
- Channellock sales are up 57% year to date, on top of a 26% sales increase last year;
- Five new category planograms were introduced at the October market;
- More than 1,200 members are sharing POS data with Do it Best;
- A new consumer-facing doitbest.com e-commerce site is scheduled to launch Nov. 10; and
- The co-op has lined up 157 store improvement projects for fiscal 2015.
Do it Best shows off the merchandise
Indianapolis — Farm and ranch and home automation were included in a list of highlights and opportunities for retailers attending the Do it Best Fall Market, which includes 61 new vendors this year.
Back by popular demand on the show floor is a 5,000 sq.-ft. Farm & Ranch exhibit, said Steve Markley, VP of Merchandising for the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based co-op.
“Farm and ranch is a fast growing segment for us,” Markley said during the co-op’s Merchandising Market Preview. “There are all kinds of opportunities in that area.”
Further, there were opportunities all over the Indiana Convention Center, he said, as the co-op rides some sales momentum.
Three months into its new fiscal year, Do it Best is off to a fast start, particularly in the core departments of lawn and garden, plumbing, power tools and housewares – all posting strong sales growth well ahead of the co-op’s total year-to-date rate of 4.5%.
Additionally, Markley encouraged dealers to research growing niche categories: clothing, food and snacks and storage.
“A lot of folks think clothing is a category with a lot of SKUs and a lot of sizes, but there are an awful lot of accessories within clothing: work socks, rain gear, caps,” he said. “A lot of those items are impulse items with good margins. Your customers are buying those products somewhere, why not from you?”
The company unveiled a new private-label brand called “Best Garden.” Best Garden will complement existing brands “Do it” and “Do it Best,” in the lawn and garden area, he said.
The market floor’s “new idea” area includes a collection of products addressing home automation. He pointed to one – an app that syncs up your smart phone to your propane tank.
“It may not be the product for you,” Markley said. “But if you think about your children or your grandchildren or that next generation of customers that you want to attract, this is an area where you need spend some time and at least be aware of what’s being offered out there.”