Stihl Hardware All Stars: S.D., Va., Wash.
HBSDealer editors like to say: It takes a little more to be a Stihl Hardware All Star. The 2017 list of 50 hardware stores from 50 states supports that maxim with a tremendous variety of stores.
Since 2011, HBSDealer has reached out to suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, vendors, retailers and homeowners in search of high-performing, service-oriented, community-minded hardware stores, lumberyards 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 of 50 — and they join an elite fraternity of honorees. Here’s to the class of 2017. And here are our representatives from South Dakota, Virginia and Washington.
Dell Rapids Ace
This Ace store grew out of its old location and now has close to 15,000 sq. ft. of retail space with expanded departments throughout. “We’re able to offer more of what the town needs,” store manager Alan Nedved said. The store features large aisles and expansive open space to help individuals in mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs. Besides hardware and household items, Dell Rapids offers numerous sporting goods items including live bait, and recently expanded its rental department.
Capps Home Building Center
When asked to identify Capps’ key to success, Ryan Cappellari, contractor sales manager, used the word “diversity.” He explained, “by offering many different products and services, we show value to the customer and protect against any economic downturns. Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for all your home needs.” To further its growth, this Monetta retailer recently expanded its store by over 8,000 sq. ft. to include a design showroom and an expanded lawn and garden center, which features a year-round greenhouse.
Johnson’s Home & Garden
All Stars know how to expand. Case in point: Johnson’s Home & Garden in Maple Valley. Since the store first opened in 1969, it’s made several renovations and expansions. The biggest came in 2013 with a new 35,000-sq.-ft. location, including a massive 6,500-sq.-ft. greenhouse. Johnson’s business doubles as a community gathering spot. It held an orchestra in their garden center during the town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, regularly hosts wildly successful ladies’ nights and always has free popcorn and pint-sized shopping carts for the kids.
Standing up for safety in South Florida
In a world that appears to be an increasingly dangerous place, can the hardware industry provide safety and peace of mind? “Absolutely,” says Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Ace in South Florida.
“I think that because of the variety of products we sell, and because so many people come to us with a variety of problems, we’re really a source for trusted advice,” Wynn said.
One area of particular concern for residents of Southwest Florida is fall-related injuries. Collier county, which includes Bonita Springs, Naples and most of Sunshine Ace’s eight stores, has the second-highest number of fall-related injuries in the country. (San Francisco ranks first.) And Sunshine Ace is doing something about it.
The Florida hardware store company was one of the founders and early supporters of the Step Smart Collier coalition, a community organization to increase awareness of the risks seniors face inside their homes. The stores also distribute Step Smart Home Audit Checklists inside their stores.
“For us, the program involves educating people, and making people feel safe in their home,” Wynn said. “Our home audit checklist makes it easy to find the items in the store, helps them to get familiar with the solutions and makes it really easy to get a feel for the different products that can help.”
The check list provides advice for various areas of the house, plus a Home Audit Savings Pass of $10 off any purchase of $50 or more.
One of Wynn’s main messages: it’s the simplest solutions that can provide the most significant return on investment. For instance, installing night lights around the house is a powerful safety strategy. “As simple as it sounds, getting up in the middle of the night, and feeling disoriented and tripping on something you don’t see is a leading cause of accidents,” Wynn said.
Other important yet simple home improvement solutions include stepladders with sidebars, non-slip carpets and floodlights with motion sensors.
While other dangers might grab more headlines, the dangers of falling in the home are real, especially for aging populations. Wynn pointed to stats showing half of senior citizens who are injured in a fall will die within a year of the fall.
“The complications that come with that fall set off a chain reaction for victims and their families,” he said. “We can have conversations with families after the fact, but we want to help our customers to prevent injuries before they happen.”
PRO Group honors Tennessee dealer
Denver-based PRO Grojup selected Yates Home PRO of Tellico Plains, Tennessee, as the 2017 Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award winner. The award, named for the Pro Group founder, is given annually to a dealer that upholds the ideals of effective hardware retailing.
PRO Group wrote gthe following description:
What do you get when you mix a full line of products, superior customer service and strong community ties? Yates Home PRO.
In 2011, Overia Yates Russell and her husband J.R. took over her family’s business. Proud to offer the same one‐stop shop service Russell’s father began in 1967, the Russell’s have positioned Yates Home PRO as a top home improvement business in its marketplace today.
“As a family‐owned and oriented business, we are proud to provide services and products to our community, including a full‐line of hardware, clothing, hunting and sporting goods, automotive supplies and much more,” Russell says. “We take customer service very seriously. At Yates, we not only strive to achieve customer satisfaction, we guarantee it.”
With several big‐box competitors nearby, Yates Home PRO goes above and beyond to win customers’ loyalty. All employees complete extensive online training and are conditioned to always welcome customers with a smile and greet them by name whenever possible.
“The most unique aspect about Yates is its personality and how closely knit it is to the community it serves,” says Richard Snowden, senior vice president of marketing for Wallace Hardware Company. “Customers are viewed as friends and treated with respect at Yates. The company has been serving its market for 50 years.”
The company treats customers to annual events like appreciation days and Santa visits during the holidays. Yates Home PRO proved its dedication even more by installing a hitching post and watering station for Mennonite customers’ horses, and installing a pay phone on store property for their use.
In addition to home improvement needs, the Tellico Plains community counts on Yates for niche products such as camping gear, fishing equipment, guns, knives and pool supplies. Other categories offered include housewares, home appliances, lumber supplies and all materials needed to complete an interior structure. The community also counts on Yates for services like key cutting, tire installation and custom paint mixing.
To keep customers informed, Yates Home PRO Utilizes PRO Group’s marketing tools including circulars, monthly promotions, mobile texting specials and other various advertising methods. The Russell’s attribute a great deal of their success to their relationship with and loyalty to PRO Group and Wallace Hardware Company, which began at the company’s inception.
The company further supports its community by sponsoring and supporting local sports teams, fire and police departments, colleges and other civic organizations.