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Long-time Friedman’s exec retires

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Tony Corsberg, VP of merchandising at Friedman’s Home Improvement, has announced he will retire at the end of June. Corsberg has been with the Petaluma, Calif.-based retailer for more than 42 years, working his way up through the company, from part time stocker during high school, moving into sales, then to buying and marketing, and eventually leading the merchandising in his current role.

During his tenure, Corsberg helped see Friedman’s through the opening of its Ukiah, Sonoma and Petaluma stores as well as three major store remodels. He was also instrumental in creating the company’s iconic green brand identity in 2001. Corsberg also served on both the Do it Best and NRHA Merchandising and Marketing Roundtables.

Corsberg will be succeeded by Joe Covert, a former SVP of merchandising with Marin-based Restoration Hardware. Covert brings with him more than 20 years of retail merchandising experience.

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An $86,000 shoplifting spree

BY HBSDealer Staff

An alleged shoplifting scheme that began in 2012 and racked up $86,000 in stolen Home Depot merchandise has led to the arrest of a suspect.

According to a report in the Arizona Republic, Antoine Elkik of Gilbert, Ariz., was arrested after trying to return stolen items to a Chandler store. According to the report, the suspect used a variation of the double-dip return method of shoplifting – a method that takes advantage of a retailer’s return policies.

Allegedly, the suspect would legitimately purchase an item and leave the store. He would quickly return for the same item and brazenly walk out with it – carrying the receipt from the legitimate purchase to confuse store employees.

In a case involving 402 purchases since 2012, the suspect is alleged to have returned the stolen items for refunds.

Elkik was arrested by Chandler, Ariz., police on March 27. It’s not clear if the retail scheme expanded beyond Home Depot. The description of the suspect’s activity comes from the police department’s probably cause statement to the court.

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Westlake Ace names new CEO

BY HBSDealer Staff

Westlake Ace Hardware announced today that Joe Jeffries has been named president and CEO. Jeffries succeeds Tom Knox, who retired as CEO on March 30.

Knox joined Westlake in 2014, shortly after Ace Hardware Corporation acquired the company in 2013. Prior to joining Westlake, Knox held several leadership roles during his 22-year career with Ace Hardware, and made significant contributions to the company as a primary architect of 20/20 Vision, Ace’s long-term growth strategy.

“Tom is a high caliber executive who brought tremendous value to Ace over the course of his career, and I want to thank him for his servant hearted leadership and unwavering integrity,” said John Venhuizen, president and CEO of Ace Hardware Corporation. “While Tom will certainly be missed, we are excited about the future of Westlake Ace, and confident in the leadership of Joe Jeffries as he assumes the role of CEO.”

Jeffries was previously president and chief operating officer of Westlake. Prior to joining Westlake in 2014, he was CEO of A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, an arts, crafts and floral merchandise retailer. He has also held management positions with Office Depot and Home Quarters Warehouse.

Joe Jeffries

“It’s an honor to be selected as the new CEO for Westlake Ace,” said Joe Jeffries, president and CEO of Westlake Ace Hardware. “It has been a pleasure working with Tom over the past four years, and I look forward to leading the company as we work together to grow the business and strive to meet the needs of our customers.”

Jeffries becomes CEO during what the company describes as a key growth period in Westlake’s 113-year history. Westlake pointed to the following recent developments::

• On March 26, Westlake finalized its purchase of The Dennis Company, a five-store retail hardware chain in coastal southwest Washington.
• In February, the company formally acquired Seaboard Ace Hardware in Raleigh, N.C.
• In January, the company finalized its acquisition of the seven-store Buikema’s Ace Hardware in the Chicagoland area.

Combined, all three acquisitions have expanded Westlake’s national footprint to 121 stores in 10 states.

Andrew Schmitt has assumed the role of vice president and chief operating officer. Schmitt joined Westlake in 2017 as vice president of operations. Prior to that, he was a director of Retail Operations – Western Division for Ace Hardware. Before joining Ace in 2010, he held finance and procurement positions with Factory Card and Party Outlet and Allstate Insurance Company.

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