Throwback Thursday: Emery-Waterhouse’s ‘Quality’ makeover

In early 1988, a New Hampshire home center adopted a brand new store-design program.


The Feb. 8, 1988 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, reported a new store-design program from Portland, Maine-based Emery-Waterhouse. It was called The Golden Rule “Q” or “Quality” store program.

Like other store design programs, the Q program brought a unified design to the home center, and a store-of-the-future tone. It offered guidance on store layout, decor and promotions. And it added to all of that an emphasis on the contractor customer.

The concept’s first rolled out at Timbermart, a single-unit dealer in Seabrook, N.H. Fred Stiles was the owner in 1988. “I was mesmerized by the home center concept and increasing margins,” he said.

Here’s how Emery-Waterhouse’s fixtures and fittings manager Ron Johnson described the idea behind the distributor’s design concept: “It’s of paramount importance to address the contractor business as well as enhancing the DIY,” he said.

Looking at the photo of page one of National Home Center News, one sees warm colors, a racetrack layout and tall fixtures. Stiles  pointed to sales gains of 24% since the opening of the new 40,000 sq. ft. store.

Today, there is little trace of Timbermart of Seabrook to be found online, other than a year 2000 article about the retailer’s effort to downsize in response to encroachment from a Home Depot.

Emery-Waterhouse was acquired by Ace Hardware Corp. in 2014. Emery Jensen Distribution announced this week a new top executive. Read more here.

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Do you remember the Q program? Let us know at [email protected].


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