Do it Best updates merchandise team
Do it Best Corp. has announced updates to its merchandising divisional team, including the promotion of a new division manager.
Gary Loosle has been promoted to divisional merchandise manager, effective immediately. In his new role, Loosle will lead and work with merchandise teams across several product categories to develop and implement strategic programs and promotions for members throughout the United States and around the world.
Loosle is a 12-year veteran of Do it Best Corp., most recently serving as a merchandise manager in several departments, including electrical, farm and ranch, and lawn and garden. Overall, Loosle has more than two decades of industry experience at both the retail and distribution level.
“Gary brings a valuable combination of experience and expertise to this important role,” said Steve Markley, VP of merchandise for Do it Best Corp. “We are very excited about Gary and his team helping our members grow and achieve their dreams through our expanded offering of merchandising products and programs.”
In addition to Loosle’s promotion, Do it Best announced Jeff Ridgeway as merchandise manager for lawn and garden. Ridgeway is a nearly 20-year veteran of the co-op, having served as merchandise manager for outdoor power for the past 13 years. Ridgeway also brings extensive co-op and retailer experience to his new role.
Lastly, Tom Witta rejoins the merchandise team as merchandise manager for outdoor power equipment. Witta is a 13-year veteran of Do it Best Corp., serving on the co-op’s retail performance team for the past two years. Prior to that, he spent 10 years on the merchandising team in a number of increasing roles and responsibilities, most recently as the merchandise manager for hardware. Overall, he has nearly 20 years of retail and industry experience.
Do it Best turns on the Connected Home
Indianapolis — However you want to describe it — “smart home,” “connected home” or “home automation,” — products that deliver more control or remote control of everyday home features and appliances is a growing business. According to merchants at Do it Best, Connected Home represents a $61 billion industry.
For the first time, the co-op’s Fall Market set off some space for a display of connected home vignettes. A living room, a kitchen an outdoor patio and a garage were recreated with working voice activated lights and other controls. The purpose: to show how easy it is to make a home “connected” and show the convenience of the finished product.
Among the specific products on display were:
- The Leviton Decora Smart Rocker Dimmer Switch. This offers total control of home lighting from the My Leviton app.
- The Honeywell Lyric Wi-Fi Programmable Thermostat. Among other things, the device sends messages to homeowners about filter changes and warns of extreme indoor temps.
- The Ring Video Doorbell. Allows homeowners with a phone or tablet or pc to see, hear and talk to visitors at the front door.
- Philips Hue A19 Medium Dimmable LED Light Bulb Starter Kit. Requires no rewiring or installation.
One of the ways to maximize the category in a retail setting is to establish a Connected Home champion, “an expert in the category to talk about the features and benefits of each SKU,” the co-op said in its promotional materials.
Do it Best Corp. reports full-year sales gains
Indianapolis – Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best Corp. reported 2017 fiscal year sales of $3.2 billion, a 6.1% increase over fiscal 2016.
CEO Dan Starr announced the end-of-year sales-performance numbers during the shareholders meeting here in Indianapolis. The company also handed out rebates in excess of $100 million for the 14th consecutive year.
Despite the record total sales, Starr said the performance, while very good, fell short of “great.” He explained: “LBM sales were strong all year long, driven by both unit increases as well as pricing,” he said. “But warehouse sales, those sales that most positively impact our profitability, were just .4% above last year – essentially flat and well short of our planned sales increase.”
He added that the co-op’s mindset of pursuing excellence is paying off in improvements in a number of categories. A line review in the dynamic category of light bulbs has shown big results in the month of June, when year-over-year purchases were up 20% while margins were up almost 15%, as sales of LED bulbs are rising.
Starr also plugged the co-op’s The Color Bar paint program and pointed to investment in IT infrastructure. In 2014, the co-op invested a little over $14 million in technology. That number has steadily increased every year to about $18 and a half million dollars this last year, he said.
“We are not just a supplier of goods, but rather a true collaborative partner completely invested in helping you grow,” he told the audience of dealers at the Indiana Convention Center.
During the Annual President’s Address, Starr also shared examples of hurricane-induced retail heroism, including actions by Circle Hardware in Waco, Texas; Petersburg Hardware in Indiana; Ambridge Home Center of western Pennsylvania; and Niece Lumber of New Jersey – all cited for their support for the relief efforts.
Special mention went to Eric Hall, owner of Jed’s Hardware in Houston, who kept his store open in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. And Ken and Abby Adams, owners of Building Materials Do it Center in Turks & Caicos, struck by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“Like their fellow members, their first thought has been for their neighbors and the communities they serve,” Starr said.