Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The Paint People of New Jersey

A 1995 snapshot of Ricciardi Bros, just before an explosion of growth.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 9, 1995 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, featured several colorful quotes from Walter Ricciardi, who with his brother Robert, ran the four-store paint retailer Ricciardi Brothers.

The headline told the story: “NJ paint dealer refuses to let the competition faze it.”

We got that one right. Since then, Ricciardi Brothers has grown from four locations to 45 stores in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. During that period of impressive growth, the family-owned and operated company adjusted its slogan from “The Paint People,” to “The Paint and Decorating People,” an adjustment that better reflects its diversified business.

Back in 1995, the mindset of Walter Ricciardi revealed that the company was willing to adapt to serve its customers and grow.

“My father started the company in 1933,” he said. “He realized back then that changing with the times is necessary to succeed in business.”

Walter Ricciardi added: “When Home Depot first came into the area five years ago, all the independent dealers stared to worry,” he said. “Independents had to take a second look at their business and make some changes to combat these superstores. The stores that are around today changed with the times.”

Training was a big part of the culture in the 1990s. “My employees can converse knowledgeably with contractors and do-it-yourselfers,” said Ricciardi.

The article reported that the company was going after commercial and government accounts, and had successfully landed maintenance for the Newark, N.J. School system. And it also reported that word of mouth was working in the paint retailer’s favor.

“There’s a salesperson at Rickel in East Orange [N.J.] who sends many customers to us, and he’s not on our payroll,” Ricciardi said.


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: Garden Masters

From the archives, a growth business celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2003.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Oct. 20, 2003 issue of Home Channel News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, included an article under the headline: “Garden Master Helps Dealers Grow.”

The article was part of a special report on Denver-based Pro Group, the buying group of distribution companies and owner of the Garden Master brand. The article pointed to increased competition in the lawn-and-garden industry.

“New competitors have entered the industry, putting a squeeze on independent retailers and distributors,” said Chuck Wyatt, president of Garner, N.C.-based Wyatt Quarles Seed, one of the group’s distributor members. “Garden Master has helped us stay competitive, and promoting the Garden Master name gives retailers some national recognition.”

The article is accompanied a photo in which Shari Kalbach, managing director of Garden Master, and Keith Funk, buyer for Gard’n-Wise Distributors of Denver, looked over information on the company’s internal web site.

“The lawn and garden industry has grown significantly in the last 10 years,” said Kalbach. “Consumers are always looking for the next new trend that will make their yard look better than their neighbor’s”

In 2016, Kalbach was promoted to PRO Group vice president, overseeing merchandising and marketing.


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: A Lowe’s growth plan

In 1980, Robert Strickland and Leonard Herring visited Wall Street to talk growth.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Nov. 10, 1980 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, ran the headline: “Florida, Texas are focus of Lowe’s expansion plan.” In the photo, Lowe’s Chairman Robert Strickland and President Leonard Herring posed for our photographer outside the New York Stock Exchange. The two men had plans to double the footprint of the company, especially in fast-growing Florida and Texas.

Since that article appeared, the company’s footprint has grown by a factor of 10.

At the time, Lowe’s had 213 stores and had just announced plans to grow its store count by 10% annually. That marked a little bit of a slowdown from the 13% annual growth in stores the chain produced in the 1970s.

Whatever they did, it worked. In the 2018 HBSDealer Top 300 Industry Scoreboard, the company operated 2,152 stores. That figure will, however, decline somewhat in 2019. Read about the company’s plan to close some underperforming stores here.

Some of the top-of-mind growth ideas from 1980 included:

  • Promoting specialty centers with the stores. The article reported: “Lowe’s will also embrace more concept celling, promoting departments like specialty stores, with themes such as ‘Lowe’s, Your Security Center’ or ‘Lowe’s, Your Insulation Center.’”
  • Finding the right markets. In the early 1980s, Lowe’s strategy called for expansion in markets with between 20,000 to 120,000 households.
  • Nurturing new customers. “We have targeted women, young adult householders, and DIYers as more important new customers for the 1980s,” Strickland said.
  • Frugal financing. Herring said the company expected to finance its expansion through the 1980s without increasing long-term debt significantly.
  • Focus on the core, the residential building supply retailer of the 1980s. “We are not going after asset-plays, manufacturing adventures, or any other ‘grass-looks-greener’ pursuits,” Strickland said.

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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