Stihl Hardware All Stars: W.Va., Wis. and Wyo.
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 of 50 — one from each state. And they join an elite fraternity of honorees.
Here’s to the class of 2017. And here’s to final three of the alphabetical list – stores that embrace customer service, customer convenience and breadth of merchandise.
Means PRO Lumber
Dwight Postalwait, co-owner of Means PRO Lumber in Beckley and Oak Hill, gave one of the best answers possible when asked by HBSDealer to describe the company’s All Star bona fides. “Sorry, can we talk later. I’m tied up with a customer.” That laser focus on the customer is one of the strengths of Means, which covers a huge range of merchandise for building and improving, as well as a strong hunting products mix.
Qualheim’s True Value
Qualheim’s, of Shawano, this year’s overall winner of True Value’s Best Hardware Store in Town awards program, is doing its best business when its competitors are taking the day off. At least that is how owner Willis Qualheim sees it: “I am always amazed when I hear someone say their store is closed on Sunday. Sunday is our best sales day as far as dollars-per-hour-opened; that’s when people are shopping for the DIY products.”
Lovell Building Center
Lovell sums up its value proposition like this: “Where hometown shopping meets selection and competitive pricing.” Its high marks, judging by online customer reviews, suggest that it lives up to its promise and then some — some would say that it has turned the state of the hardware business completely around in Lovell. Lovell Building Center is a full-service home center stocking everything from building materials to appliances, hardware and pet food, and it’s well-represented online with a clean, modern website that facilitates easy online shopping.
Throwback Thursday: Fun with Football
The July 11, 1988 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered the formation of the Home Team, a promotional partnership between the National Football League and manufacturers.
The article reported: “The NFL has recruited 14 manufacturers, including four from the home improvement industry, seven in the automotive aftermarket and three others, for a ‘Home Team’ promotion that begins in August with the distribution of 10 million free Monday Night Football guides and some major prizes.”
The four home improvement companies who played ball were Memphis, Tenn.-based Thompson & Formby; Toledo, Ohio-based Owens-Corning; Raleigh, North Carolina-based CooperTools; and Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams.
The program was inspired by the previous season’s NFL jacket giveaway promotion from Owens-Corning (photo above). How successful was that program? Don Garber, the NFL Properties marketing director, called it the most successful NFL promotion ever, attracting “spectacular” numbers of participants among retailers and their customers.
Russell Cramer, the VP of Cramer Home Centers in East Stroudsburg, Pa., explained the simple appeal of the NFL promotions. “Most of our customers like football and relate to the teams,” he told our reporter in 1988.