Three questions for John Mize


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 Q&A-style email interview, Mize expounded on his career and the state of the industry.


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

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.


John H. Mize of Blish-Mize Co.

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

Who was your mentor in the business?

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.

What’s the biggest challenge facing hardware stores?

Hardware stores have to provide answers for their DIY 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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