DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

True Value brings rental ideas to Midwest demo day

BY HBSDEALER Staff

True Value Co.’s rental team brought together more than 100 supplier representatives, rental operators and store associates to take part in its second regional Rental Demo Day event in Menomonee Falls, Wis.

“This hands-on product demonstration speaks to our continued commitment to support our rental operators in ways that are meaningful to their operations and helpful in the training of their associates,” said Eric Lane, True Value’s VP of specialty businesses. “The event was an efficient way to make it convenient and easy for our rental operators to have access to a broad range of suppliers from which they could collect a wealth of knowledge about the equipment that help grow the business.” 

At the Midwest region event, participating suppliers introduced the newest features of their 2012 rental products, leveraging the expansive amount of land at the Wacker Neuson facility to demonstrate all types of construction, excavation, event rental and general tool equipment. Rental operators sought out the opportunity to not only check out the latest in rental equipment, services and technology, but to also network and exchange ideas with other rental businesses. 

Attendees also were encouraged to take the opportunity to learn about three great new programs available to them through the True Value Rental Program. Attendees were able to:
• Learn about the rental website program from New Media Retailer to deliver website and social media programs;
• Take a look at the new True Value Rental print advertising program with templates for customizable circulars, postcards, sell sheets and brochures; and
• Talk to IronPlanet, the online auction marketplace for used equipment, about selling their used equipment online.

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Do it Best promotes executive

BY Brae Canlen

Do it Best Corp. has created a new position — national retail performance manager — and promoted Scott Sproul into the job.

In this position, Sproul will play a key role in the co-op’s sales and business development department as it works with member-owners to become the premier retailers in their marketplaces. He and the retail performance team will bring project management expertise and generous financial incentives to members who implement comprehensive store improvement projects. In addition to these duties, Sproul will also further develop and implement new programs that will help Do it Best Corp. members thrive at the retail level. 

A 13-year veteran of Do it Best, Sproul most recently served as regional sales and business development manager for the southeastern United States, where he led a team of sales professionals across an 11-state territory. Prior to that, he worked as the co-op’s territory manager in Kentucky. Overall, he has more than 30 years’ experience in the retail and home improvement industries, working extensively in merchandising, marketing, purchasing and management.

“As a regional manager and former retail executive, Scott has experienced firsthand the impact and value our many retail programs and services provide to our members,” said Do it Best VP sales and business development Jay Brown. “His energy, enthusiasm and experience will be great assets as we look to continually grow and enhance the programs that matter most to our members.”

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Ace posts sales and income gains in Q1

BY Ken Clark

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Ace Hardware Corp. posted total revenues of $908.2 million for the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 6.3% compared with 2011.

Net income was $10.2 million for the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 49.3% compared with $6.8 million in 2011.

“We are very pleased with our first-quarter results," said Ray Griffith, Ace president and CEO. “The early spring weather and the successful launch of our new Clark+Kensington paint and primer in one drove substantial increases in revenue. In addition, we entered into a new credit agreement in April on favorable terms that will allow us to refinance our debt and realize significant interest savings over the life of the agreement.”

Merchandise sales to comparable domestic stores increased 4.8% in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the prior year. Merchandise sales to new domestic stores activated in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal year periods contributed $19.8 million in incremental sales during the quarter, while merchandise revenues decreased $10.3 million due to canceled stores. This is a net increase in revenues of $9.5 million in 2012 compared with a net increase of $6.7 million in 2011. 

Merchandise sales from Ace’s international business increased $7.7 million, or 19.3%, in the first quarter as compared with the prior-year primarily due to higher sales to retailers in the Asia and Latin America markets.

Ace added 30 new stores and canceled 25 stores in the first quarter and ended the quarter with a total domestic store count of 4,077.

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