True Value gets ‘Future Ready’
The hardware distributor welcomes dealers to a Reunion in Denver.
True Value Company’s Fall Reunion promises a weekend of products, education and networking here at the Colorado Convention Center.
With a theme of “Future Ready,” the Sept. 27-30 event in Denver will mark the first Reunion since the company underwent a major restructuring that included a sale of 70% of the company to ACON Investments, returning more than $200 million to members in the process. The company is hosting retailers regardless of affiliation with a slate of buying opportunities, educational sessions and discounted prices on merchandise.
Several dealers interviewed by HBSDealer during the Reunion’s opening-night Bargain Burners Reception in the exhibit hall explained that they were going about their business as usual.
“We’re all curious about what’s going to happen, but for now it all seems normal,” said Matt Martin, of Ross True Value in El Reno, Okla. “We just got here, but so far it looks pretty similar.”
Also from Ross True Value, Chase Smith said he appreciates True Value’s new approach to marketing, which allows the individual dealer to pick and choose a method that works for the individual dealer. “One of the biggest things for us, since we’re in a small town in Oklahoma, is that we’re more rural. So certain things that are advertised nationally don’t work for us. So now, we can digitally go in and target our ads for people in our area. It’s been a big change. We’ve definitely seen an increase in foot traffic. It’s definitely helped generate a lot more interest in the store.”
A big talking point in Denver is the impact of the ACON Investments deal.
At the Bargain Burners Reception, Jim Waters from Waters True Value of Salina, Kansas, said he knew the ins and outs of the transaction pretty well – he was on the co-op board that approved it. “I thought then that it was a smart thing to do, and I haven’t changed my mind,” he said. “There was a heck of a lot of consideration. It was not an easy decision. But I very much believed, and still do, that it was the right decision.”
True Value Company President and CEO John Hartmann and other True Value executives are expected to share their insights on the company and its direction during a Friday afternoon general session. “The transaction we made earlier this year changed the independent hardware industry in a way it has never experienced before,” said Hartmann in a recent press release. “Our doors are now open to all independent hardware retailers across the globe.”
More than 80% of True Value dealers voted to adopt the deal back in April. One retailer, out of a dozen or so interviewed during the reception, was unenthusiastic about the transaction. Ryver Hankins of Hankins Hardware True Value of Portland, Ore., said he was “disheartened” by the loss of the previous True Value member-owned structure.
Meanwhile, the Reunion continues with nearly one million sq. ft. of exhibits, and an open-door policy for dealers. Jean Niemi, VP of communications for True Value, said this Reunion’s “Future Ready” slogan was selected partly because it reflects the need to adapt in a changing world.
“We’ve gone through a transition this year that has positioned us to be future ready,” she said. “Every business has to be flexible and ready to change as the future dictates.”
House-Hasson tackles hurricane needs
The hardware distributor has about 500 customers in impacted areas.
Even before Hurricane Florence arrived on North Carolina’s shores, House-Hasson Hardware said it prepared to meet the demand for building materials and hardware supplies from businesses and homeowners setting out to rebuild and recover from the storm.
The regional hardware distributor that serves hardware stores and pro dealers has about 500 customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
“High-demand items from our dealers are things like generators, gas cans, and bottled water, but it’s certainly not limited to those products,” said Don Hasson, the company’s president.
“Independent hardware stores and lumberyards are in the vanguard of reconstruction and recovery efforts,” Hasson added. “People depend on their local stores even when no emergency exists; when something as devastating as a hurricane hits, those stores are their go-to places for what they need.”
House-Hasson also donated a truckload of bottled water to Remote Area Medical for distribution in the stricken areas. “That’s a basic need we want to help meet,” Hasson said.
Trucks lined up at House-Hasson’s 400,000 square-foot warehouse, loaded with items for dealers. And they’re heading back with more.
The distributor has been met with flooded roadways in some cases. Bbut for the most part deliveries are being made to stores that are open and to which travel isn’t restricted.
“If we can’t get there immediately it’ll be as soon as humanly possible,” Hasson said.
House-Hasson said it typically sees increased activity during hurricane season, usually for its Caribbean Basin customers.
“We’ve had customers get badly slammed in the past by hurricanes, so we help them as much as we can to get operating again for their benefit and for the benefit of the people who are counting on them,” Hasson noted.
Based in Knoxville, Tenn., House-Hasson Hardware serves about 2,500 dealers in 21 states and the Caribbean Basin.
True Value opens Reunion doors wide
Touting its new flexibility, Chicago-based distributor has big plans for Denver.
For the first time, True Value Company’s semi-annual Reunion is open to all independent hardware retailers, and the Chicago-based company is rolling out the red carpet.
The Sept. 27-29 event in Denver will mark the first Reunion since the company underwent a major restructuring that included a sale of 70% of the company to ACON Investments, returning more than $200 million to members in the process. The company says it will host retailers regardless of affiliation with a slate of buying opportunities, educational sessions and discounted prices on merchandise.
“The transaction we made earlier this year changed the independent hardware industry in a way it has never experienced before,” said True Value Company President and CEO John Hartmann. “Our doors are now open to all independent hardware retailers across the globe. Our upcoming Reunion in Denver is the perfect way for retailers who are looking for better products and services to check out all of our industry-leading assortments at the best prices, listen to keynote speakers and, of course, really get to know us and all that we have to offer.”
The event begins Thursday, Sept. 27 with sessions at the Retailer Best Practices Conference (RBPC), highlighted by keynote speakers and bestselling authors Dave Ridley and Patrick Lencioni. Ridley will relate experiences from a successful career at Southwest Airlines; Lencioni, a best-selling author, will discuss best practices for building teams to lead businesses and drive competitive advantages. The RBPC will focus on service excellence, business marketing and technology innovation and include roundtable sessions and five tracks of learning.
Throughout the weekend retailers will have access to nearly 1,000,000 square feet filled with easy to order, attendee-only deals on the best assortments in the industry that include thousands of new and classic products.
Other highlights of the event include Bargain Burner discounts of up to 50 percent for early arrivals on Sept. 27; Overstock and Closeout Corner deals of up to 70 percent (Sept. 28); and a Friday afternoon General Session followed by a Kenny Loggins performance and block party.