True Value
DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

Leaning to ‘yes,’ True Value voting extended

BY HBSDealer Staff

As True Value members consider an offer to sell 70% equity of the company to ACON Investments, Chicago-based True Value Company has added a week to the voting deadline.

Early Friday, the company announced to members that special meeting of the board on April 20 will  share the voting results with the members. The original vote deadline was April 12, just before midnight. It’s now April 19, just before midnight.

So far, votes have been largely in favor of the proposal announced March 15 to dramatically change the structure of the True Value, sell a majority stake to a private equity company and unlock dealers investment. The company said 72% of the proxies have been counted, and 85% have voted for the proposal.

In an announcement to dealers today, the co-op said: “based on the massive vote support, our plan remains to close the transaction on or around April 20th following the Special Meeting.”

The additional week was described in a statement as related to a lawsuit brought by a member who sought more information. The lawsuit was rejected by the Delaware Court Friday morning, True Value said.

True Value’s statement reads:

“As of today, we are pleased to report that we have received a majority member vote with 72% of the proxies voted and 85% voted YES to the proposed transaction. Although we have already achieved the required vote, we supplemented information to the Proxy in response to certain litigation relating to the Transaction by one member. As required legally when providing additional information, we extended the proxy period by one week to April 20. In a ruling on the lawsuit today, the Delaware Court rejected the relief sought in the complaint to stop the transaction and based on the massive vote support, our plan remains to close the transaction on or around April 20th following the Special Meeting.”

According to a report in Law360, the Delaware Chancery Court suit was filed last week seeking to block the transaction and alleging that terms were inadequately disclosed and the price was unfair.

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Three questions for John Mize

BY HBSDEALER Staff

It was announced this week that John H. Mize intended to step down from day-to-day operations at Blish-Mize Co., where has worked for 56 years, most recently as executive chairman and chairman of the board. He’ll continue to serve as chairman of the board of the Atchison, Kan.-based family owned hardware distributor.

As previously reported, Mize was president and CEO of Blish-Mize for about 35 years. “I saw success and had some challenges, and I also had a lot of fun,” he said.

In the following question-and-answer-style e-mail interview, Mize expounded on his career and the state of the industry.

John H. Mize, executive chairman of Blish-Mize. (Photo credit: Isaac Alongi)

Q: What is the biggest change in the business today, compared to early days of your career?

A: Technology—truly the computer and the internet. The computer helped speed customer service at both ends. More speed on our end to get orders to our customers. Blish-Mize was also one of the first to provide price stickers for our customers with bin labels for quicker reordering.

Q: Who was your mentor in the business?

A: My mentor was my father [John Mize, Sr.] who ran our company for years with a vast knowledge of working with both vendors and customers.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge facing hardware stores?

A: Hardware stores have to provide answers for their D I Y consumers and have the goods in stock. They also have to provide the same customer service as their online competition — easy returns, fast delivery.  A lot of our customers today are not the traditional hardware store —they are lumber yards and building materials dealers.

Our biggest challenge has always been how to grow. Acquisitions is one of the answers. We’ve made a few of them. We are a survivor in this business because we manage our business responsibly and we take care of our customers.

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John Mize looks back in gratitude

BY HBSDealer Staff

John H. Mize says he plans to continue to visit the Blish Mize office, even after he retires from active management later this year.  But after May 31,  the Atchison, Kan.-based hardware distributor will enter a new chapter.

Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board John Mize, plans to retire from active management after 56 years on the job

“I look back on our almost-150-year history and feel gratitude to so many customers who have shown their faith in our employees and our company,” says Mize, executive chairman and chairman of the board.

Mize started full-time at the company after college in 1962 and held sales territories in Colorado and Nebraska. He was later promoted to field sales manager and traveled the company’s entire servicing area.

“My forte was salesmanship, marketing, and being in contact with others. I have never met a stranger, so to speak,” he said. “I am still deeply committed to the prosperity of the business, but I never permitted myself to become solemn about it. We are a family-owned, employee-focused company, and we are extremely dedicated to our customers. I look back on our history and feel gratitude to so many who have shown their faith in us,” said Mize.

Mize held the Chairman, President & CEO position for around 35 years, and the company saw incredible growth and acquisitions under his leadership. “I’m aware of the opportunities I’ve been given, and I’m grateful to everyone I’ve worked with throughout my career. I saw success and had some challenges, and I also had a lot of fun.”

Mize will remain Chairman of the Board and plans on stopping by the office at least three times a week. He will continue to offer guidance to the office staff. “I feel good about the future of our business under our fifth-generation leadership, with Jonathan Mize as president and CEO, and our excellent executive team and staff.”

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