Stihl Hardware All Stars: Colorado, Mississippi, Tennessee
It takes a little more to be a Stihl Hardware All Star.
Since 2011, HBSDealer has reached out to suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, vendors, retailers and homeowners in search of high-performing, service-oriented, community-minded hardware store, lumberyard or farm and ranch dealers worthy of All-Star status.
It’s a tribute to this industry that each year brings a surplus of high-quality nominations. The companies profiled have earned their place on the list, and they join an elite fraternity of honorees.
Here’s to the class of 2017. Let the star gazing begin.
Woodland Do it Best Hardware & Home
The new-and-improved Woodland Hardware & Home, open since 2014, is only three blocks from the original location, in Woodland Park, but it’s two and a half times as large; and it offers an exceptionally picturesque view of nearby Pikes Peak. With 23,000 sq. ft. on offer to the public, the store is the result of a promise of “bigger and better,” made by owner Kelly Rodarmel after he bought the original business from his parents in 2007. Woodland prides itself on its inventory, which includes the largest rental equipment selection in Teller County. “I like to hear my customers say, ‘If you don’t have it, it probably doesn’t exist or I don’t need it,’” Rodarmel said.
This mom-and-pop store was proclaimed a “Columbus icon” by a state senator for good reason. In an era of big-box stores and consolidation, Military Hardware has proven the little guy can still compete. It initially dealt with a Wal-Mart opening in the same town; then came Lowe’s moving down the street. Asked for his secret sauce, owner Mike Perkerson cited “customer service, a wide variety of products and a little bit of luck.”
Gatlinburg Ace Hardware
The gateway to the Great Smokey Mountains, Gatlinburg suffered a devastating blaze in late 2016. And in the center of it was Gatlinburg Ace Hardware — amazingly spared from destruction. When the smoke cleared, owner Libby Murphy lobbied hard with local officials to open access to the store and keep the hardware flowing. An example of All Star community service, the store played and continues to play a role in the town’s recovery. “This store was a place for healing and hope,” Murphy told HBSDealer.
Throwback Thursday: Harry’s vs. the warehouses
Back in 1984, Harry’s Ace Hardware was a six-store New Orleans institution in a town seeing a wave big box competition in the forms of House Works and The Home Depot.
An article in the July 2, 1984 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, explained in a headline: “Harry’s staves off warehouses; hikes ad budget, cuts prices.”
On local television, Chairman Jake Becker played the role of company spokesman, and life-size cardboard cuts were places in all the stores.
The retailer also pursued education in the face of large, well-funded competitors. A “Personnel Enhancement Program,” was described as “a combination pep-talk, sales training seminar and company history lecture.”
Mystery shoppers were employed, and merit system was instituted for good deeds, (for instance, catching shoplifters).
Harry’s dates back to 1910. Happily, DIYers can still visit one of two Harry’s Ace Hardware stores in New Orleans today.
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A new owner for Frager’s Hardware
Frager’s Hardware on E Street in Washington, D.C. is getting new ownership. The store announced plans to sell to the owners of the group known as “A Few Cool Hardware Stores,” which also operates in and around the nation’s capitol.
Frager’s, which has been operating as a True Value store, will become the 12th AFCHS store, and convert to the Ace Hardware co-op, under the plan.
Founded in 2003 with flagship store Logan Hardware, AFCHS owners Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman say the Frager’s still will continue to exude local charm.
“Marc and I are extremely proud to continue the Frager’s legacy on Capitol Hill,” said Schaefer. “We have admired John and his operation since the day we opened our first location in 2003 and are looking forward to meeting our new community.”
John Weintraub, has been owner of Frager’s Hardware on Capitol Hill since 1975. The store dates back to 1920, and the Warren Harding administration.
“Frager's is a thriving operation with a fantastic staff and we've proven that we can adapt and innovate to meet changing circumstances and evolving customer needs here on Capitol Hill. Teaming up with AFCHS will strengthen and energize both operations and ensure our customers and community receive the same high quality service we've built our business on for generations to come," says Weintraub.
The store will celebrate the change in ownership this summer with a community party and sale.