DISTRIBUTORS/CO-OPS

PRO Group names new CFO

The Denver-based buying group for hardware distributors announces a promotion.

BY HBSDEALER Staff

PRO Group, Inc. promoted 11-year company veteran Heidi Wodark to the role of CFO. She had been controller of the buying group of 30 distributors since 2007.

As the CFO, Wodark will continue to manage the accounting department while also providing analysis and projections related to acquisitions and growth strategies and maintaining multiple banking and investment relationships. She will also work with the CIO and IT teams to advance PRO’s internal systems including ongoing enhancements to the Central Pay System.

“I knew when Heidi joined the company in 2007, we were gaining an expert in accounting, management information systems and human resources,” said Steve Synnott, president and CEO at PRO Group. “I found she had a strong work ethic and attention to detail and perhaps most important, she understands the key metrics that drive PRO’s value to customers. Her contribution to the company’s success has grown year over year and I am proud to see her take on an expanded role as chief financial officer.”

Over the past 11 years, Wodark has overseen the accounting department and has worked to help PRO grow by providing integral financial knowledge in each new initiative set before her.

“I’ve enjoyed being part of a team that has been able to realize many new growth opportunities,” said Wodark. “It is always our goal to better serve the independent distributor and retailer communities and I feel fortunate to be part of a company that holds these values so close. I am excited to take on this new role and look forward to what the future holds.”

Wodark has worked as a controller for an $800 million information technology consulting company as well as a company in the luxury athletic club industry.

PRO Group’s distributor members include Wallace Hardware, Horizon Distribution and Bostwick-Braun Company, among many others.

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Do it Best names paint merchandise manager

Jenna Myers began her retail career at T&M Hardware and Rental.

BY HBSDealer Staff

Do it Best Corp. named Jenna Myers paint merchandise manager, effective immediately.

In this position, Myers will develop the co-op’s paint merchandising programs and initiatives with leading suppliers.

Myers is a seven-year member of the Do it Best merchandising team, joining the co-op in 2011 as an associate merchandise manager for tools before transitioning to a similar role on the paint team. In 2015, she was promoted to merchandise manager for rental, store/office supplies, food and snack, toys and impulse – a role she held until her move to paint merchandise manager.

“I’m incredibly honored and excited to again be involved in a category I know well,” Myers said. “We want our members to see Do it Best as their first and best choice for success in the paint category – and we will continue to work hard to make sure our innovative programs are a big part of that.”

Myers’ experience in independent hardware retailing extends beyond Do it Best. Prior to joining the co-op, she worked for several years at T&M Hardware and Rental, a six-location Do it Best member in Pennsylvania owned by her parents, Tim and Mary Post.

“Jenna’s extensive background with our merchandising team and her firsthand retail experience make her an ideal fit for this important role,” added Steve Markley, VP of merchandising for Do it Best. “We’re excited to see her energy, enthusiasm and expertise combine to drive member growth and sales in this category.”

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J.Kilker says:
Oct-02-2018 09:33 am

Jenna Congrats on your new position, wishing you all the best.

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True Value’s General Session highlights

A company embraces change at its 2018 Reunion in Denver.

BY Ken Clark

Denver, Colo. — In the first True Value Reunion of the ACON Investments era, the general session got down to business as usual – with too many quotes, statistics and points of interest to include in a single article.

But there were a few notable changes. The event was the first for the former co-op since its deal with ACON Investments — a move that brought some $200 million of equity to members in exchange for 70% of the company. And opened the door for True Value to cast a wider net outside its previous member base. Include in this year’s session were some detailed descriptions of how dealers were using their recent cash infusions from the transaction, and also a video presentation from ACON managing partner Aaron Schwartz.

Schwartz emphasized ACON’s confidence in the True Value model.

“We did not invest in True Value expecting to make a quick buck by selling off parts of the company,” he said. “To the contrary, we invested in True Value because we believe there is still so much more to be achieved, and specifically so much more that this management team could accomplish if it had the resources to do so.”

In the state of the art Bellco Theater at the Colorado Convention Center, and with some pretty cool visual graphics and a flash-mob dance number adding to the energy, the general session hammered on the theme of bring the company into the future. President and CEO John Hartmann kicked off the session explaining the value of the ACON deal, including “more flexibility and more independence to do what’s right for your stores now and in years to come.”

From the stage, Hartmann welcomed more than 100 new True Value customers and dozens of prospects to the Denver Reunion.

Perhaps the biggest announcement from the session was a plan for a major supply chain investment. It’s the “first time in decades that we made this level of investment to enhance our distribution network,” said Hartmann.

Abhinav Shukla, True Value senior VP and COO, explained that fill rates have been consistent with prior years, but they can be improved. The current year “has been very challenging with inbound fill rates, and that’s driven outbound customer fill rates lower than we are satisfied with,” he said. The plan calls for an investment of “$100 million in the next year for new distribution capacity, which will help accelerate the modernization of our supply chain. A long term solution to alleviate congestion in our buildings, lower operating costs and improve in-stock rates.”

John Hartmann at the Denver Reunion.

The company said it will add more than a million square feet of distribution space to its network. More specifics will be announced in coming months.

Unleashing trapped equity was a theme and major principal of the ACON sale, and it was one of the first topics addressed during a scripted conversation of company leaders. Tim Mills, senior VP of growth, described some of the ways stores are reinvesting.

“It really runs the full gamut, everything from full remodels to ground-up stores, thousands of additional investments in [Customized True Blue] assortments, and hundreds and more are making investments in the market today, and basic repairs of facilities.”

Fellow panelist and sixth-generation hardware store retailer Brian Webb added: “We recently put a new roof on our store, and although that doesn’t sound very sexy, it was very expensive, long overdue and I’m glad we had the opportunity to do it.”

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