True Value Co. honors 13 high performers
Chicago-based True Value Co. recognized 13 member hardware stores as part of its fourth annual "Best Hardware Store in Town" campaign.
"These 13 stores represent what it takes to exceed customer expectations,” said Lyle Heidemann, president and CEO of True Value Co. “This select group of retailers continues to succeed by constantly recognizing and adapting to meet the different needs of the local communities they serve.”
The winners are:
• Mark Malkiewicz, Appomattox True Value, Appomattox, Va.;
• Richard and Jessica C De Baca, Big Jo True Value, Santa Fe, N.M.;
• Bob Conyers, Conyers True Value, Manchester, Conn.;
• Bob and Pam Votroubek, Handy True Value, Rock Island, Ill.;
• Pam Barker and Vickie Coffman, Hometown True Value, Minneapolis, Kan.;
• Ginger Johnson, Hyde Brothers True Value, Clarksdale, Miss.;
• Bruce Davis, Junction True Value, Seattle;
• Bob and Lucy Ward, and Steve Olazaba, Morrison True Value, Alpine, Texas;
• Bruce and Pattie Dodds, Mound True Value Hardware and Paint, Mound, Minn.;
• Dave and Dee Campbell, Pollock Pines True Value, Pollock Pines, Calif.;
• Jack Winchell, Jack Ritter and MaryAnn Paluscio, Ritters True Value, Mechanicsburg, Pa.;
• Doug and JoEllen Mingle, Roaring Spring True Value, Roaring Spring, Pa.; and
• Ron Samore, Vermont Outlet True Value, Los Angeles.
The co-op recognized True Value hardware stores that consistently deliver a superior shopping experience. A compelling customer experience includes having a knowledgeable staff ready to help; a well-stocked, clean store; and a local market-focused ambience found only at the neighborhood hardware store — qualities synonymous with the True Value brand, according to the company.
The winning retailers were announced during True Value’s 2011 Spring & Rental Market general session in Orlando, Fla., held earlier this month.
Handy Hardware attracts record attendance
Despite winter storms that slammed Texas transportation, Handy Hardware Wholesale hosted more than 725 dealers at its Houston market last week. That’s a new record for the Houston-based hardware co-op.
During the event’s Feb. 5 breakfast meeting, Handy president Tina Kirbie updated members on what she called Handy’s "two bold 2010 initiatives" — a computer system conversion and the company’s new Meridian, Miss., distribution center.
Both presented challenges, and both are seeing progress, Kirbie said in her remarks.
Amid member concerns over the functionality of the new computer system, Kirbie pointed to "much progress" in the past several weeks and described the ongoing improvement as a "top priority for us." She added: "We are working diligently to amend areas that need to be improved."
Part of the IT initiative involves a new-and-improved website: handyhardware.com.
The Meridian, Miss., distribution center — the company’s original DC is in Houston — is shipping product to members, she said. "The balancing act of moving business from Houston to Meridian has been challenging, but we’re all getting better at it every week," she said.
The Meridian facility adds 463,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space to Handy, adding to Houston’s 560,000 sq. ft.
Kirbie also pointed to Handy’s history — the co-op turns 50 years old in 2011. From first-year sales of $156,072, the co-op saw sales of more than $235 million in 2010, she said.
The Handy president also presented a variety of economic indicators that bode well for hardware stores in 2011. Among them was the recently raised GDP growth outlook from Goldman Sachs, increased from 2.0% to 2.7%.
In Houston, a Handy Hardware homecoming
Houston-based co-op Handy Hardware Wholesale opens its 50th Anniversary Spring Market today in Houston. The event runs through Feb. 5.
Handy’s market floor will open at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday and will close at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5. Market incentives will be enhanced as five market attendees will have the opportunity to draw for up to $50,000 in cash at the close of the market. Following the market close, the member-owned distributor will continue the celebration with a private concert by Sony BMG recording artist Kellie Pickler.
The pre-market registration is 20% higher than the previous record market registration for the Spring of 2010. Organizers are hoping weather won’t impact attendance.
"We know that travel is treacherous in some places, but everything is clear in Houston,” said Lynn Bradley, senior director of retail development.
Mickey Schulte, VP marketing and purchasing added: “Our Deep Discount Store within the market is over 5,000 sq. ft. dedicated to planograms that all have a 50% discount, one year dating or some combination of the two. Our factories have gone above and beyond to support this celebration.”