Flashback Friday: The Golden Rule ‘Q’

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Feb. 8, 1988 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, recognized the efforts of Portland, Maine-based distributor Emery-Waterhouse to launch a “store of the future.”

The Golden Rule “Q” program – “Q” stands for quality” – targeted individual or family owned lumber-yards wishing to remodel or build a new store. In launching the program, Emery-Waterhouse laid claim to the distinction of “first independent distributor to offer its lumberyard dealers a store of the future.”

Timber Mart was the first to sign up. The single-unit dealer in Seabrook, N.H., saw sales increase 24% since it opened its new, 40,000 sq. ft. store in late 1987. The photo above reveals warm colors, a racetrack layout and tall fixtures.

Here’s how Ron Johnson, the company’s Q-program fixtures and fittings manager, described it: “It’s of paramount importance to address the contractor business as well as enhancing the DIY.”

“I was mesmerized by the home center concept and increasing margins,” said Fred Stiles, president of Timber Mart. “But I’m the single owner and wear 12 hats and didn’t have time to spend on the new project.”

In 2000, Timber Mart transformed its business model to focus exclusively on kitchen, bath and floor covering. The brand didn’t last long after that.

As for the distributor Emery-Waterhouse, the company was acquired by Ace Hardware Corp. in 2014.

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

HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact us at



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