Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: rebuilding Ground Zero

When disaster struck on 9-11, a Manhattan store flexed its muscles.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 8, 2001 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center from the perspective of a 38-year-old hardware store owner in Manhattan.

Andrew  Scheman, president of Scheman and Grant, witnessed the devastation on Sept. 11, 2001, and then oversaw the transformation of his hardware store into a much-needed supply house for relief workers at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.

Scheman arrived at work early on Sept. 11, and was alerted to the disaster by a phone call from his wife.

“I lived in New York my entire life,” Scheman told our reporter in 2001. “I’ve seen the biggest things that happened here – the blackouts, blizzards. That image of watching the tower cascading down will be in. my mind the rest of my life.”

The article reported: “Scheman immediately closed his shop and told his 15 employees to go home; those who had nowhere to go due to the almost total shutdown of New York’s mass transit system were allowed to stay inside the store.”

Andrew Scheman

After closing on the day following the attacks under recommendation of the mayor, Scheman and Grant picked up the pace on the following days. The store is located near the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, which became a major collection area for Ground Zero rescue supplies.

Our reporter wrote: “The store went through 100 respirators, the equivalent of two years’ worth of sales for the 6,500 sq. ft. store. Combining donations and sales, the store also went through 10,000 dust masks, 1,000 pair of gloves, 100 tarps and several hundred flashlights and Maglites . . .. ‘It was a convoy that was basically shopping here and going to Javits to drop it off,’ Scheman said.”

Today, Scheman and Grant continues to serve New York City from three paint-focused locations in Manhattan.


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 SchafferAssociates.com

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Retailers go to Bat

In 1992, Home Depot and HomeBase swung for the fences, and for City of Hope.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Aug. 31, 1992 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered a softball clash of home center rivals Home Depot and HomeBase under the headline: “’Home’ teams go to bat for charity.”

Home Depot’s founder Arthur Blank and HomeBase President Jim Halpin participated in what was described by our reporter as a “fiercely-competed” charity softball game in Orange, Calif. HomeBase scored early and often, winning by a score of 27 to 8.

The charity game raised $270,000 for City of Hope, the California-based cancer research and disease treatment center.

HomeBase lumber buyer Blair Simmons.

The article included reports of standout individual performances, including HomeBase VP of merchandising Bill Pena, described as “one of the game’s stars.” It was also reported that Tony Gurrola, a HomeBase employee in the merchandise replenishment department, hit three for four with two RBIs.

HomeBase lumber buyer Blair Simmons pitched the winner.

The post-game interviews were full of good sportsmanship and healthy competitive analysis.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Halpin.

“We’ll try to win next year,” said Blank. “We don’t like to lose twice, let alone once.”


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 SchafferAssociates.com

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Throwback Thursday: HomeClub’s new message

Back in 1989, HomeClub awarded a $15 million ad campaign to a new agency.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Feb. 27, 1989 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, covered the marketing shift at Fullerton, Calif.-based HomeClub and its 47 warehouse stores under the headline: “HomeClub rethinks marketing strategy.”

There was a reason for the shift: HomeClub’s advertising agency resigned the $15 million account in order to take on Home Depot and its $25 million national account. HomeClub listened to pitches from 50 advertising agencies before selecting Los Angeles-based Davis, Ball & Colombatto.

Here’s how the article described the new strategy from the perspective of HomeClub President Sean Lee: the chain “will no longer focus on having every-day low prices because that is no longer unique to home improvement merchandising. The new agency will create a ‘multidimensional advertising plan with a wider scope” than its previous campaign.

At the time, the HomeClub had an unusual retail position, it simultaneously operated as an open-to-the-public home center, and a membership club. Customers could pay an annual fee of $10 to $15 and enjoy 5% discounts on their purchases, or they could simply walk in and shop. The membership angle was designed to create customer loyalty, as well as a powerful mailing list.

Even bigger changes were in store for the chain. In 1992, it changed its name to HomeBase and abandoned its membership program.


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 SchafferAssociates.com

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