DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

OrePac teams up with DuPont Tyvek

BY HBSDealer Staff

OrePac Building Products and Honolulu Wood Treating (HWT) have jointly agreed to become the exclusive distributor of DuPont Tyvek in Hawaii, beginning June 1, 2017.

OrePac is a Wilsonville, Oregon-based wholesale distributor of specialty interior and exterior building materials and Honolulu Wood Treating (HWT) is a two-step building material distributor and lumber/plywood treating facility that operates as OrePac's 3rd party logistics provider.

Previously, OrePac and HWT served as dual distributors for the product line.

OrePac will be the vendor of record for all DuPont Tyvek sales moving forward, while HWT will help to support inventory and shipment services for the dealers in Hawaii.

OrePac has been a DuPont Tyvek distributor since 2002, handling Oregon, Washington, Northern California, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Montana and parts of Wyoming and South Dakota.

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Up close and personal, with one of True Value’s Best

BY Ken Clark

And the winner is: Qualheim’s True Value. The 55,000-sq.-ft. Shawano, Wis., hardware store and home center took home the highest retail honor at the 2017 True Value Spring Reunion. With 13 regional honorees of the Best Hardware Store in Town contest on the stage, Qualheim’s name was called as the national winner.

This was the second year the program selected a single national winner for the award, which evaluates stores based on appearance, product selection and competitive pricing, as well as other factors. A mystery shopping score also weighs on the selection.

Accepting the award for Qualheim’s was second-generation owner Willis Qualheim, who spoke to HBSDealer about the honor, True Value itself, and retail success in general. Here is the edited conversation:

HBSDealer: What’s it take to be the Best Hardware Store in Town?
Willis Qualheim: (Pause.) To do the best job that you can, and treat others the way that you want to be treated.

HBSD: How many Reunions have you been to.
Qualheim: (Laughs) Well, lets’ count them.

HBSD: That’s a sneaky way of asking you your age.
Qualheim: Yeah, I know it is. Let’s say at least 70.

HBSD: Wow. Is it safe to say this one was the most memorable for you?
Qualheim: Yes it was. Because out of 13 stores, we were the winner. I was not prepared for that. It was a surprise.

HBSD: In our photo you are holding something up, it looks like a yellow gift card. What is that?
Qualheim: You’re going to laugh at this. That was the little card that had the name of the winner. It said “Qualheim’s True Value.”

HBSD: The music on the call waiting was Phil Collins “Take a Look at Me Now.” Is that a result of the award?
Qualheim: That’s whatever my daughter has programmed on Pandora. Just a coincidence.

HBSD: Have you always been a True Value dealer?
Qualheim: We started out in 1979 as a Coast to Coast store. Then switched to True Value in the mid 1980s when Coast ran into financial trouble.

HBSD: What do you think True Value does well, as a co-op.
Qualheim: They are approachable. They have good answers to our questions, and good responses to our suggestions. They listen. And that’s an important reason why I like the culture of the co-op.

HBSD: What about the name change from Market to Reunion?
Qualheim: I still sometimes call it a market. However, I fully understand why the terminology of Reunion is used, because to be honest with you that’s pretty much what it is for a lot of us who have been doing this for years. It’s a reunion with all the people we haven’t seen for six months.

HBSD: What about your store. What makes it special?
Qualheim: We’ve been in the community for 35 years, but besides that, it’s the community support that we provide — the little league baseball team and all the community events. Plus once again, it’s treating customers like they’re your friend. Developing that relationship is one of the major things that we do.

HBSD: How did you get into the hardware business?
Qualheim: My parents a small little 2,000 sq. ft. Coast store back in 1979.

HBSD: From 2,000 to 50,000 sq. ft?
Qualheim: To 55,000 sitting on seven acres with a large green goods area outside, and all the rest. I came back in 1981 and joined them, and I like it. I’ve been doing it ever since.

HBSD: You don’t mind working weekends?
Qualheim: I love weekends. You know why? Because I can be out on the floor. I’m not stuck back here in the office with all the paperwork or on the phone—don’t take that wrong – the best part about this job is being out on the floor with the customers. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what I thoroughly enjoy.

HBSD: Are you looking at any big new categories?
Qualheim: Not at this point, because we’re in almost everything right now. Clothing, farm, pets, you want fish or snakes, we have those. There is really no new category that’s on the list.

HBSD: Snakes?
Qualheim: Some people like to have a pet snake, so we sell them.

HBSD: How about your optimism?
Qualheim: I am very optimistic about it. Looking at sales and margins, both are doing well. Margins are maintaining, sales are increasing. Whose to say there’s not a chance for another store another year down the road. I don’t know, but I’m very positive about it.

HBSD: Around hardware stores, the big question is how are we going to compete as an industry against Amazon. Do you have an answer for that?
Qualheim: I do. Amazon can’t get you those six little specialty screws that you need. Granted that won’t keep the doors open, but that’s how you develop the relationship. And Amazon cannot give you a hands on to replace that toilet tank fill valve. Yes YouTube does a good job, but it’s still not the same as personal relationship. How will hardware store compete with Amazon, I think very, very well. Some other retailers might have more of a challenge.

HBSD: The YouTube videos seems to show a wide open area under the sink. In real life, there is always a pipe that’s in the way.
Qualheim: That’s right. And the other thing is, a plumbing project on a Saturday on average is three trips, so what can you buy on Amazon that is going to fix this project for you right away. You can’t. Because you never know what you’re going to run into.

HBSD: Are you taking advantage of the award in your marketing programs?
Qualheim: Yes we are. Right down to ordering new name badges for all of our people. The badges say “Best Hardware Store in Town.” It’s on social media, and we are certainly promoting it. The associates here really like it. It’s a pat on the back to them, it’s not me, it’s all of them.
 

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Huttig adds GAF as a partner

BY HBSDealer Staff

Huttig Building Products, a domestic distributor of millwork, building materials and wood products, says it will distribute a variety of GAF roofing products, including shingles and roofing accessories.

The new deal with GAF was announced this week.

“We are proud to establish a strategic partnership with GAF, North America’s largest manufacturer of commercial and residential roofing, as our lead shingle supplier,” said David Fishbein, executive VP of the Huttig-Grip division of Huttig Building Products. They are a great addition to our offerings and further strengthen our position as a market leader.” 

The GAF partnership is the latest result of Huttig’s effort to secure more brands and broaden national offerings. It recently announced deals with Knauf, Duchesne and American Fasteners Co.

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