Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The voice of Hader Hardware

From 1993, a change of management and a career in radio.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The July 5, 1993 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, carried the headline: “Two employees buy Cincy’s Hader Hardware.”

Gary Sullivan

Those two employees were Rick Suder and Gary Sullivan, executives who had been with the (then) 14-store retailer for a combined 42 years. At the time, Sullivan downplayed the changes. “People walking into the store won’t even know there’s been a change,” he said.

Hader is no longer part of the home improvement landscape. (In fact, “” brings a web user to a Macau online casino.) But Gary Sullivan is familiar to many in the industry as the host of the home improvement radio show, “At Home with Gary Sullivan.”

As the story goes, Sullivan was encouraged by Hader Hardware’s owner Jim Hader to respond to a Cincinnati radio station’s advertisement for a home improvement show host back in 1986. The radio show took off, and went national in 2001.

When contacted by e-mail, Sullivan wrote: “What a milestone it was in my career to be president and owner of Hader Hardware going into the last decade of the 1900’s. Our plan was to expand the reach of Hader geographically and continue to build the media career along parallel lines as I had been doing since 1986.  Plans changed when the media end grew much faster than the retail end of my careers. By 1997, we started to broadcast radio regionally and many followers of the radio show where unfamiliar with Hader Hardware, and the careers became stand-alone entities. In 2001 I chose to focus on the radio and TV end of my life and left the hardware business after 26 years.  No regrets.”

Check out Sullivan’s podcasts here.

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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