HARDWARE STORES

From Walmart to Ace to Emery-Waterhouse

BY Ken Clark

Portland, Maine-based Emery-Waterhouse, the hardlines distributor acquired by Ace Hardware Corp. in February, announced the new hire of Charles Chibante as VP of Sales.

Chibante comes to Emery-Waterhouse bringing over 20 years of experience in retail, operations, marketing and leadership, including 13 years with Wal-Mart in various leadership positions, as well as eight years as a partner in a family owned and operated construction company.  

Most recently Chibante served as the regional manager with Ace Hardware covering New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

He will officially begin with Emery-Waterhouse Aug. 1.

In his new role at Emery, Chibante will help Emery’s sales team achieve the company goals of making customers more profitable and making the distributor easier to do business with. 

“Charles brings new energy, innovation and an impressive track record to our team,” says Emery-Waterhouse CEO Steve Frawley. “This position represents a continued investment in our ‘Driven by your Success’ customer-focused value proposition.”

Chibante will be based in Pennsylvania.

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House-Hasson likes what it sees at market

BY Ken Clark

Knoxville, Tenn.-based House-Hasson Hardware says its June 19-21 dealer broke all previous records for attendance, attracting some 2,300 to 2,400 people.

“We sold more of every product,” said Don Hasson, president. “People are feeling better about the economy, and when they feel better they buy more. That means dealers are buying products looking to the next six months rather than the next few weeks.”

The company is also seeing good growth in its international business, concentrated in the Caribbean, Hasson said. “We had a dinner with about 30 of our international dealers on Saturday night after the market ended because they don’t fly out until the next day,” he said. “This is a part of our business that is really expanding.”

The harsh winter continues to shape buying patterns. 

“We’re seeing good sales on plumbing items that people ran out of during the cold weather,” Hasson said. “The popular term was ‘Beat the freeze.’ Everything in plumbing sold well, as did light bulbs that are being phased out for LED and Halogen bulbs. “

House-Hasson serves dealers in 17 states and the Caribbean.

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Mahurin out at Orchard Supply Hardware

BY Ken Clark

Steve Mahurin has left Orchard Supply Hardware, where the veteran home improvement merchant and retail industry executive held the title Chief Retail Officer.

According to the San Jose, Calif.-based retailer, Mahurin’s position was eliminated as the company transitions to a focus on operations and expansion. 

“Steve was instrumental in helping us launch the vision and the brand,” said Bob Tellier, Orchard’s senior VP of merchandising. “Our needs now are in the areas of operations and execution, and that’s where we are focused.”

Orchard has 72 stores, mostly in California. Its stated goal is to reach 100 stores and $1 billion in sales in three years.

The company is carving a retail niche with a midsize and full-line hardware store – typically about 32,000 square feet plus a garden center — with a focus on paint, repair and the backyard. The store design can be described as a combination of the traditional and the upscale. 

Orchard is owned by Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s, but operates as a standalone company.

Before joining Orchard Supply Hardware in 2011, Mahurin served as executive VP merchandising for Office Depot where he was responsible for all merchandising and related functions. Previously, he held the position of senior VP and chief merchandising officer for True Value, where he oversaw the merchandising and supply chain organization.

Prior to his time with True Value, Mahurin held a number of senior positions over nearly 13 years at The Home Depot, where he ultimately served as a senior VP.

The elimination of Mahurin’s position coincided with the reorganization of the retailer’s regions and consolidating operations under an existing regional VP.

“All of the focus is on opening new stores and managing our growth,” Tellier said. 

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