Unlocking the Keynote

At the Hardware Show, True Value talks transformation

BY HBSDealer Staff

Las Vegas — True Value Hardware Company CEO John Hartmann at the National Hardware Show here delivered a keynote address that hammered on the theme of “think differently.”

During his presentation on the NRHA Village Stage in Las Vegas, Hartmann looked back at the company’s transformation from a co-op to an a la carte distributor – a move that resulted from the sale of 70% of True Value Company to ACON Investments in a deal that closed a little more than a year ago.

In the presentation titled “Unlocking True Value,” Hartmann described how the sale of True Value unlocked trapped equity – returning more than $250 million to retailers.

“We needed to start to think differently,” he said. “We knew we could offer retailers the same great relationship without their hard-earned money being trapped in an antiquated model.”

Hartmann added: “Thinking differently allowed us to return our retailers’ trapped equity while at the same time accelerating our strategic investments, importantly – without financial burden to them.”

Case in point is a previously announced $100 million investment to improve network capacity, and the ground breaking of the first new ground-up distribution center to be added to the True Value network in almost 30 years.

“The 1.4 million sq. ft. state of the art distribution center in Pennsylvania is a very, very real example of the magnitude of the investments we are making,” Hartmann said.

Hartmann’s presentation included other changes happening at the company:

  • An expanded field team model. “We are doubling our field team in order to best support our members and customers,” he said.
  • Local pricing. The company is rolling out a new e-commerce site – that allows retailers to show their local pricing in their market, as opposed to a national price. The feature is part of a larger effort to modernize marketing that focuses on localized, digital messaging.
  • New customers. In addition to Carter Lumber, True Value celebrated the recent signing of Camping World and Gander Outdoors, a 120-location retailer. True Value pointed to 227 new customers in 2019 so far.



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