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All Star Performance in Va., Wash., and W.Va.

State by state, here’s the 2019 class of ‘STIHL Hardware All Stars.'

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The editors of HBSDealer took notes and took nominations. Utlimately, they selected fifty high-performing, customer-serving hardware and building supply all stars – we call them our STIHL Hardware All Stars. All 50 were featured in a recent issue – check it out here.

What were the selection criteria? Any or all of the following:

High levels of customer service;
• High performance – growth, sales, profit or any other metric;
• Deep involvement in the community;
• Innovative culture;
• Outstanding merchandising and store design;
• Willingness to take risks;
• A passion for philanthropy;
• Excellence in training;
• Ability to adapt to trends and society; and
• Generally, just an all-around all-star retailer.

Several of the above apply to all of the below.

• Rocking R Ace
Harrisonburg, Va.
Rocking R is a destination location where thousands congregate to attend one of its many events, among them Ladies’ Night, where they roll out the red carpet and pamper women; bird seminars and adopt-a-pet days in conjunction with the Rockingham/Harrisonburg SPCA. Its fall tool show, which brings out leading vendors, is another signature event. Roughly half of Rocking R’s 7,500 square foot space is comprised of hand and power tools, which may be low margin for some but has been a nice revenue source for Rocking R, according to store manager Bill Freeman.

• Stoneway Hardware
Seattle, Wash.
Promoted as “your locally owned hardware store in Seattle, and founded by five friends from the hardware industry, this downtown Seattle All Star has evolved from a “mini-mart” into a 12,000-square-foot specialty hardware powerhouse. Their big niche, according to co-founder Ken Bartlett, is nuts and bolts –hence their nickname, “The Fasten Nerds.” Fasteners are sold by the piece or by the box. “We buy from 13 different vendors because no one vendor has everything,” Bartlett said. Stoneway caters to the marine trade with over 1,300 accounts, from fishing boats to commercial yachts.

• General Hardware
Winfield, W.Va.
Before he became an owner, Eric Tarr was a consumer who grew frustrated that there were no local hardware stores in Winfield. Together with Dale Vance, these entrepreneurs invested in a hardware store that would cater to the needs of all. “We’re a general store—it’s a play on words, ‘General Hardware,’” Tarr said. “It has a little bit of everything, from snacks to screws to cleaners to plumbing to electric—it’s all there.” General has also added a lumberyard to the mix. “We have all the building materials—everything you need to build a house.”

See the full report on the STIHL Hardware All Stars here.

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