News

Stars shine in Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona

State by state, meet the Stihl Hardware All Stars class of 2019.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The tradition began in 2011, when Home Channel News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, recognized 50 Hardware All Stars — one hardware store, home center or building supply dealer from each state. The tradition continues in 2019, with a all-new class of STIHL Hardware All Stars.

It’s a class as deserving of recognition as any that preceded it.

The 50 stores here represent all that is stellar in home improvement retailing. To varying degrees, they support local and national charities, experiment with merchandising and store design, differentiate themselves from competition, invest in their facilities and their people, and generally serve their communities like All Stars.

Here are three examples of All Star performance:

• Russell Do it Center
Alexander City, Ala.

The Russell Lands Inc. family put on their hard hats to break ground for a new store in Auburn, Ala., set to open in late spring. But the company already operates six retail home centers in the state. The first was this energetic, Alexander City gem in 1984. Each store and three additional pro yards are designed and targeted for their unique markets.  Alexander City assistant manager Scott Pearson shared with HBSDealer one of their secrets: “We try to stay busy.”

• Ace Hardware Top of the World
Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska
For three months of the year, the sun doesn’t rise in this arctic city formerly (and still) known as Barrow. And for three months in the summer, the sun doesn’t set. “When its dark, in the wintertime, we sell a lot of lightbulbs,” said Herman Solomon, store manager. “And In times of 24-hour light, camping gear is big.” The 3,000 sq. ft. store is valued by hunters, contractors and locals.  It’s not easy working in such a remote place. “We’re used to it,” Solomon said.

A2Z Home Center
Chino Valley, Ariz.
Quality and customer service are the hallmarks of A2Z Home Center a combination lumber yard and 7,500 sq. ft. hardware store, which recently underwent a remodel. “The response has been good,” said Jeff Van Well, who owns the home center with his wife Nancy. “People like the fact that we have lots of things in a small community store.” The key to success is assembling a team of “good, friendly and knowledgeable people,” he said. A2Z marks a return to the industry for Van Well, who rode out a non-compete clause before launching the Chino Valley store. Why did he come back? “I love doing this.”

Click here to see the full class of 2019 all stars.

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