At Do it Best, a 'Celebration of Excellence'

Indianapolis -- In videos, discussions and presentations, a parade of high-performing retailers and retail ideas were on display here at the Do it Best Fall Market kickoff event.

Branded as a "Celebration of Excellence," the 90-minute showcase of best practices encouraged members to sharpen their marketing and merchandising and pointed them to market exhibits -- such as the new Core Solutions area, a store on the floor that highlighted recommended electrical and plumbing assortments.

A list of retailers spotlighted for achievement includes: loyalty-card maximizer Valu Home Centers of Buffalo, N.Y., and Escalante (Utah) Home Center, grilling-event masters Brownsboro Hardware & Paint of Louisville, Ky., and Sullivan Hardware & Garden of Indianapolis; and social media leader Ambridge (Pa.) Home Center.

Woodstock Hardware shared their community-building experiences.

The program also featured the role of Woodstock Hardware in the rebuilding of the Woodstock Playhouse destroyed by fire, and the New York retailer’s support of children’s musical education. Woodstock’s Diane Christofora encouraged the audience of dealers to “create a web of awesomeness.”

Ambridge Home Center’s David Strano offered this advice to boost social media marketing. “Set a game plan,” he said. “Set time aside every single day to post. Not to mention, try to get people involved from your team. Keep on and be innovative.”

Do it Best recognized its top purchasing members, including five members that collected annual rebate checks in excess of $1 million:

• Parker’s Building Supply, of Texas, $2.6 million;
• Taylor’s Do it Center of Virginia, $1.4 million
• Gill-Roy’s Complete Hardware Stores of Michigan, $1.29 million;
• R.P. Lumber Company of Illinois, $1.18 million: and
• Alamo Lumber of San Antonio, $1.17 million.

Do it Best's rebate leaders.

The Friday afternoon session also included calls to action from Do it Best executives.

"A battle is raging every day: the battle for customers," said VP of Marketing Rich Lynch, pointing to the need to "embrace change at a level that you may have never experienced before."

One of the questions dealers should be asking themselves, he suggested: “Are you using the most widely used search tool on the face of the planet [Google> to your benefit? The very relevance of your business is at stake."

He described the continuing evolution of the general retail trend of buy-online-pickup-in-store, a trend that is moving quickly to buy-online-pickup-in-store today – as opposed to pickup in a day or two. “Accurate inventory will be the key to meet this ever-evolving customer expectation,” Lynch said.

The business-building meeting included plenty of human-interest stories, reflected most clearly by an interview with Karen Munson of Escalante (Utah) Home Center. Munson wrote “In the Aisles,” a book that captures her experiences of operating a rural Utah hardware store.

She signed copies of her book at the Independent We Stand booth on the market floor.

“It’s not just us helping the customer,” she told the dealers about what goes on in the aisles. “Often it’s the customer helping us. And I see customers helping each other and a lot of problem solving and support.”

The Do it Best Fall Market concludes Monday, Oct. 21.