Top Guns assembled at National Hardware Show
Described as the industry’s "most successful and innovative independent retailers," the Top Gun retailers this year hail from Texas, Oregon, Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts.
Organized by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and Hardware Retailing magazine, the 2011 Top Guns are:
• Tony Brookhouse, representing Koopman Lumber Co. in Massachusetts;
• Cally Coleman Fromme, representing Zarsky Lumber in Texas;
• Dennis Orem, representing Jerry’s Home Improvement Centers in Oregon; and
• Gina Schaefer, representing seven Ace Hardware stores in the Washington, D.C., area.
Hardware store all-stars: Idaho, Illinois and Indiana
As Home Channel News continues its march across the United States touting high-performance hardware store retailers, here are three champions of — from west to east — diversification, customer centricity and gardening prowess:
About 100 miles north of Boise, May Hardware in McCall, Idaho, has taken diversification and niche development to rare places. The hardware store serves a former logging town turned tourist destination with a core assortment, plus such upscale housewares as Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Le Creuset cookware. The company also runs a marina on Payette Lake; a 24-hour locksmith service; and a division that installs home security systems, home audio systems and whole-house automatic controls that regulate lighting, temperature, surveillance and access.
Weiss Ace Hardware
In Glenview, Ill., Weiss Ace Hardware propelled to a modicum of fame by appearing as the customer-centric cover story of the Ace Show Daily last month. The store is run by Jon Weiss, whose father John bought the business from one of Ace’s founders (Richard Hesse) back in 1931. The family affair includes Jon’s son J.T. and daughter Lynne Rine, who are both managers at the Glenview store.
Sullivan Hardware and Garden
Perhaps the most visited hardware store in Hoosierland, Sullivan Hardware and Garden twice a year welcomes busloads of Do it Best Corp. members to its north Indy location. It’s worth the trip — even for repeat visitors. Owned by Do it Best board member Pat Sullivan, the store’s expansive indoor-outdoor garden center is a legitimate tourist attraction. And the store-within-a-store gift shop contributes to an upscale female-friendly atmosphere.
HCN Monday will publish one store each from Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky. Also, register with Homechannelnews.com to see the May article in its entirety.
Hardware store all-stars: Florida, Georgia and Hawaii
There are great hardware stores in every corner of this country. Home Channel News has identified 50 — one for each state — in its May issue.
Continuing the report of all-star hardware stores in order alphabetical, here are Florida, Georgia and Hawaii:
Sunshine Ace Hardware. Sunshine Ace has six locations in South Florida, but the downtown Naples store is unlike any of the others, said store manager Sherry Kish. Walk into the sporting goods area and you see a very large fishing boat. Above the boat is a mangrove and beside the mangrove are two large murals depicting the area. And all around, the store uses a cinnamon, beige and green color scheme to hammer home the one-of-a-kind impression.
Bates Ace Hardware. It takes a certain amount of confidence to build a 22,000-sq.-ft. hardware store on Home Depot’s home turf. The year was 1993, Home Depot was a $9.2 billion retailer, but Bates Ace Hardware had run out of room in its small, 72-year-old Atlanta store. Owner David Doss moved ahead with plans for a new building across the street, including a 12,000-sq.-ft. showroom and a 1,000-sq.-ft. lawn and garden center. A decade later, the Doss family added a 1,000-sq.-ft. climate-controlled greenhouse. Their courage is still on display: The store has a live video feed from its sales floor posted on its website at batesace.com.
City Mill. “Oahu’s favorite hardware store” isn’t just a slogan. City Mill has made the Hawaii Business Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” list in each of the last four years. It’s also a Sea Advertiser’s People’s Choice Award Winner. Brother-sister team Carol Ai May and Steven Ai run eight locations in Honolulu and across Oahu.
Coming on Thursday: Idaho, Illinois and Indiana.