As pest control takes off, armadillos beware
Getting your product into the Ace Hardware warehouses is a coup for many vendors, especially those that supply niche products used in only some parts of the country. But BGA Industries, a Holly Hill, Fla. company that makes armadillo deterrent pellets, has crossed the pest-control threshold at four of Ace Hardware’s distribution centers, according to an article in the Daytona Beach News Journal.
BGA Industries recently signed a deal to supply 20-pound bags of “Yard Gard” to Ace warehouses that supply the co-op’s dealers in 16 states throughout the Southeast, from Virginia to Texas and Kansas.
Two years ago, BGA started out with Ace like most vendors, on a drop-ship basis. In this case, it was just a few stores and the delivery vehicle was a Ford Excursion.
The product started out as a gopher repellent but was modified into an armadillo deterrent. Yard Gard is an all-natural pellet that is applied to yards via a spreader. It bothers the nose and mouth of armadillos so they stay away. It is not harmful either to armadillos or to household pets. The product requires just a couple of waterings to dissolve.
The first Ace hardware store owner to try the product was Pete Brechwoldt, manager of the four Ace Hardware stores in Florida’s Flagler County. He and Mel Mathisen, president of BGA Industries, know each other from church. Mathisen was an instant convert to Yard Guard, and persuaded other Florida Ace dealers to try the product.
Mathisen is hoping that increased distribution and sales will help the company invest in more automation. Much of Yard Guard’s production is now done manually at BGA’s manufacturing plant in Holly Hill.
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State-by-state Hardware Store All-Stars: the final four
The final four states on the alphabetical list showcase — Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming — showcase innovative, sophisticated and historic examples of hardware store all-stars.
McLendon Hardware. An active and aggressive user of retail technology systems, Renton, Wash.-based McLendon Hardware consists of six retail hardware stores — including a 117,000-sq.-ft. remodeled former Kmart store purchased in 2004 — a commercial lumberyard, two distribution centers and more than 500 employees. Founded in 1925, the fourth generation of the founder’s family is already in management positions.
• West Virginia
Martin & Jones. Martin & Jones is one of the stops on a historic walking tour of downtown Ronceverte, so tour guides usher groups through the late-1800s store on a regular basis. Meanwhile, employees fetch items for customers from tall wooden shelves using rolling ladders. The three-story building is full of merchandise, including furniture and outdoor power equipment. A much-sought-after small engine repairman runs a shop out back. Up until the 1950s, merchandise came by train right into the store’s basement. Founded in 1904, Martin & Jones is operated by the grandson of one of the original founders.
Nelson Agri-Center. This 2009 Golden Hammer Award “Innovative Retailer of the Year” winner is known for its engaging sidewalk and parking lot events. It operates stores in Prairie du Chien and Viroqua, which recently underwent a major remodel.
Shively Hardware. Lots of hardware stores look like they should be on the National Register of Historic Places, but Shively Hardware actually is. This wood frame structure was built in downtown Saratoga, Wyo., in 1889 and was made into a bank shortly after. The Shively family bought the business in 1925. (It was sold by previous owners to cover gambling debts.) “The store is built around the old bank vault,” said third-generation owner Mike Glode, a True Value dealer with a core assortment of hardware and major appliances. “We couldn’t take it out if we wanted to.” A second store, also called Shively Hardware, sells ATVs, snowmobiles and outdoor power equipment.
To read the original Hardware Store All-Stars story as it appeared in the May issue of Home Channel News, log on or register here.
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House-Hasson announces group insurance program
Independent regional hardware distributor House-Hasson Hardware announced the launching of a new insurance program for its dealers, intended to ameliorate high insurance costs. Made possible by Addison & Associates of Memphis, Tenn., the program will allow dealers to come together to purchase health and property and casualty insurance as a group.
“It’s very simple,” said Don Hasson, president of Knoxville, Tenn.-based House-Hasson. “If a group of four has someone who has an expensive illness it’s going to drive up their costs – and possibly cost them their insurance. When you’re part of a larger group the cost ratio tends to go down.”
Responses to the new insurance program have been very positive, with nearly 80 dealer leads at House-Hasson’s Atlanta market held June 23-25, the company said. “We did a soft launch at the market to gauge interest without a lot of hype. We’re very encouraged by the results. We’ll now be informing all our dealers of this program,” said Hasson.
Dealers look forward to the prospect of lower insurance costs. Terry Garrison, House-Hasson dealer and owner of HomePro of Hartsville in Hartsville, Tenn., expressed optimism about the new insurance program. “This is going to be great. It should lower dealers’ rates,” he said. “We’ve had to go out and shop independently for pricing. To say insurance rates are high is an understatement. For independents, it’s ridiculous.” He added that insurance rates became so high that HomePro of Hartsville was forced to stop supplying insurance for employees, and that he believed many other independent dealers have had to do the same.
Garrison is not alone in feeling positive about the new program. “We’ve gotten nothing but good comments,” said Hasson. “This is a House-Hasson exclusive and something no one else is doing. We’re always looking for every way we can find to help our dealers be more profitable and successful. Helping them lower their insurance costs is an important way to help make that happen.”
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