HBSD May 2024

Page 1

MAY 2024 Volume 50 No. 5 Meet the 2024 Class of STIHL Hardware All Stars OUTSTANDING STORES
Hardware, Pennsylvania
Solomon Hess, owner, Quincy

Efficient Service, Dedicated Operators


Our Fleet, Our Drivers

Orgill’s commitment to getting products into your store is paramount. Our modern, private fleet of 400+ trucks are all driven by Orgill employees. Not only do our drivers keep things running smoothly, but our operational model controls our expenses and we pass these savings along to our dealers.

We’ll go the extra mile for you. Contact us today.

To find out more, call or visit: 1.800.347.2860 x 5141 | Orgill.com Fleet-Service Facts: • Low flat-rate stop-charges • Low minimum orders • No fuel surcharges • High driver-retention rate • The lowest net delivery cost in our industry


Hardware All Stars

Meet the 50 superstar independent retailers—from Alabama to Wyoming—in the annual STIHL

Hardware All Star special report.


8 Up close and personal with Solomon Hess.


10 QXO shares growth potential. It’s a big number.

10 Home Depot and SRS Distribution, the reaction.

12 Prodealers vs. The Credit Card Competition Act.


14 A Steel City showroom thrives with “the latest and greatest.”


28 Shelf life: Home improvement retailers share tactics for discounts and unique items.

30 Top Women Profile Series: Metrie’s Amber Tidd makes the journey from sales to operations.


6 Here’s What’s Online

32 People in the News

34 Quikrete Industry Dashboard

4 May 2024 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com Hardware + Building Supply Dealer (ISSN 2376-5852) is published monthly, except for July/August and November/December, which are double issues, by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 225, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscription rate in the United States: $132 one year; $240 two year; $17 single issue copy; Canada and Mexico: $180 one year; $342 two year; $20.40 single issue copy; Foreign: $180 one year; $342 two year; $20.40 single issue copy; in all other countries (air mail only). Digital Subscription: $75 one year; $140 two year. Periodical postage paid at Chicago, IL., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to HBSD, Circulation Fulfillment Director, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 225, Chicago, IL 60631. Copyright © 2024 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved.
Satisfied homeowners means satisfied contractors. When you partner with Deckorators, you can provide contractors with decking, railing, and innovative outdoor solutions their clients are sure to love. Become a Certified Dealer today at Deckorators.com/Dealer IMAGINE satisfied CONTRACTORS

Here's What's Online

See more and share more when you follow us on Linkedin.

It’s the 2024 Leaderboard Survey

Tracking the top hardware and building supply dealers requires passion and diligence—and a lot of help from our readers. Take the annual Leaderboard Survey at HBSDealer.com/ Leaderboard. And check out last year’s coverage at: hbsdealer.com/report.

The 2024 Field Guide to Decking

When you connect with us, you connect with the industry @HBSDealer

The latest interactive e-book from HBSDealer leans on videos, photos and the latest trends from leaders of the decking industry. Engage with innovations and new products that are driving business. Visit: HBSDealer.com/2024-field-guide-to-decking

Explore the video library

From ‘One on One’ interviews to the Top Three Stories-of-the-Week Highlight Reel to Golden Hammer/ Golden Heart Award profile features, HBSDealer offers valuable viewing opportunities. Check out the video library at: HBSDealer.com/video


From the Editor Hardware Heroes

Hardware All Stars are all around the U.S. — and everywhere HBSDealer goes, we meet more and more. We managed to highlight 50 in this issue, not easy to do.

Friendly, ready to help, full of knowledge to share — all of you are Hardware Heroes to us.

One of our 50 hardware store owners featured is Solomon Hess, who runs Quincy Hardware, an independent STIHL dealer in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. That’s him

“We couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “In 2018 we purchased the Quincy Bank property which was right beside us, this helped us expand our parking lot.

“We just did a reset of the store. We hired someone to take off the old tile oor and then they ground the concrete oor and put a clear sealer on top, we like how it turned out,” said Hess.

In this reset he explained, they expanded the STIHL department and Midwest Fasteners. Throughout the store, they have a good mix of products for homeowners, farmers and contractors.

When he thinks of a hardware store, Hess said he thinks of Bolts. That’s what he named one of their best departments: “When there are 10 customers in the store, three or four will be in the bolt aisle.”

He said they sell and service only STIHL, “which helps us to be able to have your repair done in a day or two.”

When he was 15 years old, he started working at Quincy Hardware. “That was 33 years ago,” he said. “My father Willis made it possible for my brother Titus and I to buy the business. Dad was never an owner but he signed the bank papers to make it possible that we could.”

Looking back, said Hess, “I’m not sure how we made it, it was nip and tuck. A lot of ups and downs through the years.”

550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 225, Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 992-4450 Fax (773) 992-4455 www.HBSDealer.com


SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT John Kenlon (516) 650-2064 jkenlon@ensembleiq.com


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ken Clark kclark@ensembleiq.com

HARDWARE EDITOR Tim Burke tburke@ensembleiq.com



MIDWEST & SOUTHERN STATES (773) 294-8598 agrant@ensembleiq.com


NORTHEAST & GREAT LAKES STATES (317) 775-2206 gcole@ensembleiq.com


ART DIRECTOR Bill Antkowiak bantkowiak@ensembleiq.com

PRODUCTION MANAGER Patricia Wisser pwisser@ensembleiq.com

MARKETING MANAGER Kathryn Abrahamsen kabrahamsen@ensembleiq.com


LIST RENTAL mbriganti@anteriad.com


“We bought the local Quincy Hardware business in 1992, it was started in the early 80s,” said this hardware owner. “We started out with strictly hardware and employed four people which included myself. My father kept the books in the evening after his day job.”

Over the years they expanded several times and added a greenhouse, bulk mulch, STIHL power equipment, bag feed, and now employ 20 people, including part time.

They have enjoyed the blessings of the ‘family feel’ this business has provided, he said; “our three children have been involved since they were little. Our son is 19 and is now helping with decisions. This gives new incentive to the business.”

He talked brie y about his home life: “We have a little farmette with two mama cows, ve chickens, and a garden I use for stress relief after work. My wife and I especially enjoy a little time off to go see our grandchildren.”

This is just one example of a hardware all star: The hardware owner, livin’ the life.

The owner concluded: “Hardware is the only thing I have ever done.”








Levi Smith, CEO, Franklin Building Supply

Steve Sallah, CEO, LBM Advantage

Christi Powell, Women & Minority Business Enterprise Market Manager, 84 Lumber

Neal DeLowery, Store Projects and Merchandise Manager, Aubuchon Co.

Brad McDaniel, Owner, McDaniel’s Do it Center

Joe Kallen, CEO, Busy Beaver Building Centers

Tom Cost, Owner, Killingworth True Value

Permissions: No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

connect with us

Tim Burke Hardware Editor Solomon Hess, owner, Quincy Hardware located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

QXO founder sees path to $50 billion

Brad Jacobs, the author of “How to Make a Few Billion dollars,” has this to say about the building products distribution business: He likes it.

The seasoned business leader who announced late last year that he’s about to bring his M&A playbook to the building products distribution industry, has described the growth potential for his start up, called QXO: He sees a path to building a $50 billion company.

During the course of his investing career, Brad Jacobs has raised $30 billion of debt and equity capital. He’s also led some 500 merger and acquisition transactions in multiple industries.

QXO hasn’t launched yet. But Jacobs’ enthusiasm for the building products distribution industry remains high. And in a recent interview with the Knowledge Project podcast, Jacobs elaborated on his playbook.

He described his research:

“I spent the last year going around studying dozens of industries, looking at hundreds and hundreds of acquisition opportunities—mostly with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and some others,

and some friends—figuring out how could I apply my playbook to this industry?”

He listed features of an industry that are ideal for his playbook:

“Is the industry big enough? Is the industry fragmented enough? Is there M&A a to do. Is bigger or better? That's not always the case. Are there economies of scale? Do you have a competitive advantage by being bigger?”

He pointed to the importance of technology.

“Is there a way to apply technology? My companies have always been tech forward to the industry because the industry is a little sleepy on technology.”

He came to a conclusion:

“I looked at many, many different industries and I settled on the one that checked every single box, which was building products distribution. The name of my company is going to be QXO. And M&A will be a big, big component of what we do.”

In the podcast, Jacobs shared his estimate that in Western Europe and North America, building products distribution is an $800 billion business. “That is where I want to plant my flag,” he said.

Based on an ability to capture roughly 6 percent of that giant figure through acquisitions and organic growth, Jacobs is setting his sights on a $50 billion company.

“There's many other industries that are nice, but I'm not going to be able to get to $50 billion,” he said. "I want to get to $50 billion. So in this industry, there's a clear path of how I can do that.”

Reaction to SRS-Home Depot

The $18.25 billion acquisition of SRS Distribution by The Home Depot brings more than 700 pro-focused locations to the world’s largest home improvement retailer.

It’s by far the biggest deal of the year, or just about any year for that matter.

We asked readers a two-part question: Were you surprised by the acquisition; and will it affect your business's go-to market-strategy, from a competitive or a supplier standpoint?

Here's what we learned:

Poll Results

Question: What's your reaction to the HD-SRS Deal?

Surprised, affected

Surprised, unaffected

Unsurprised, affected

Unsurpised, unaffected

Source: HBSDealer Poll Question, n=282

10 May 2024 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com News + Analysis
Brad Jacobs, Author
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Register for this event and improve your margins! Contact us today. Pat McCutcheon, VP of Sales: 1-800-333-0520 | marketing@househasson.com House-Hasson Hardware Company: Knoxville, TN | www.househasson.com See more event details! June 13-15 2024

In D.C., a charge for competition

WASHINGTON — Dozens of dealer

members from the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) charged Capitol Hill on an April morning to push for legislation that could positively impact prodealers.

Key priorities at the NLBMDA’s 2024 Legislative Conference are support for the Credit Card Competiton Act (H.R.3881/S.1838), the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) (H.R.3238/S.1557), and the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act (H.R.7024).

“This is where your voice has a lasting and meaningful impact,” Jacob Carter, director of government affairs for the NLBMDA, told delegates.

Carter delivered his statement while presenting a policy briefing to dealers the day before they would meet with members of Congress.

“They need to hear that story from small business owners, they need to hear that story from LBM dealers,” Carter said regarding the Credit Card Competition Act.

The Credit Card Competition Act is a bipartisan bill that addresses excessive credit card swipe fees for small businesses by allowing access to more credit card payment network options.

Openings, closings and acquisitions

Recent updates to the HBSDealer News Map, powered by Epicor, include Aubuchon Company’s acquisition of seven-unit Bibens Ace Hardware based in Essex, Vermont; Cameron Ashley’s venture into Connecticut; and Beacon’s acquisition of General Siding Supply in Nebraska. Explore the map for yourself at HBSDealer.com/map.

Visa and MasterCard control 80% of the U.S. credit card market and hold a duopoly over credit card processing, charging merchants more than 2% of the customer’s total bill each time a credit card is used to make a purchase. According to the NLBMDA, this bill would fix a "broken market that has allowed Wall Street megabanks and global card networks to block competition and unfairly profit at the expense of small retailers and their customers."

Currently, Visa and Mastercard set the swipe fees charged by banks that issue their credit cards and block transactions from being processed over other networks that could do the same job with lower fees.

Credit and debit card swipe fees have more than doubled over the past decade and soared to a record $172 billion in 2023, up from $161 billion in 2022 and $138 billion in 2021.

Carter said the legislation could save small businesses about $11 billion per year. Additionally, the average family pays nearly $1,000 per year in swipe fees.

12 May 2024 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com News + Analysis
NLBMDA’s Jacob Carter, director of government affairs.
cement board, concrete, brick, and block hillmangroup.com 1-800-800-4900

Allegheny Millwork & Lumber


Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Millwork & Lumber operates out of a single retail location on the south side of Pittsburgh but serves a wide coverage area ranging from the New York, Maryland, and Ohio borders as well as additional markets.

A key piece of Allegheny’s business includes offering products for the renovation and repair of some of the Steel City’s historic structures.

“We have a lot of old neighborhoods and institutions here, so our design teams work very closely with our manufacturers to ensure proper use of materials and speci cations to meet stringent historical district guidelines,” says John DiGiannurio, purchasing and operations manager at Allegheny Millwork & Lumber.

Allegheny Millwork & Lumber was founded to serve the needs of the restoration movement in Pittsburgh’s North Side. In the mid 1970’s, dedicated sources for restoration and renovation components were scarce so we decided to make our own.

The dealer not only operates a full-line lumberyard, but also an upscale 8,000-square-foot showroom. The single yard and design center stocks a complete line of custom hardwood and engineered mouldings, including more than 350 different pro les.

Allegheny Millwork & Lumber's showroom is a star. The Kitchen and Bath Design Center featuring high-end products shines brightest, including fully

functional appliances, such as radiant cooktops and integrated refrigerators. The design space incorporates multiple cabinet and countertop options, backsplashes, wall coverings and light xtures among other products.

“Everything we display can be ordered,” DiGiannurio told HBSDealer. The purchasing manager also notes that Allegheny always tries to “bring in the latest and greatest” when it comes to kitchen design options and building products.

The company maintains ve kitchen designers along with experts in architectural hardware.

A separate gallery-style architectural hardware showroom features “all the name brands, predominantly American and English made” in door and cabinet hardware, according to DiGiannurio. “From budget to luxury, we have a selection of beautiful products for anyone's needs.”

Another aspect of Allegheny’s design and remodeling sales and services includes a door and window showroom featuring the latest from Marvin and Kolbe. DiGiannurio points out that Marvin is the company’s number one door and window-selling product.

The upscale Pittsburgh showroom includes gallery-style architectural hardware displays (left), moulding offerings (above), and much more.

made in america*


These three words tell you everything you need to know about the power, performance and dependability of STIHL handheld outdoor power equipment. STIHL employs more than 2,000 workers at our factory in Virginia Beach, and the majority of STIHL products sold in the U.S., are manufactured in the U.S.* We even export


*A majority of STIHL products sold in America are made in America of U.S. and foreign materials.

STIHL products to more than 90 countries around the world. At STIHL we build in America because we believe in America. Whether it’s our workers on the production floor, one of 10,000 Dealers nationwide, or our customers who demand dependability, there is a common thread. They are real people. And they are STIHL people.



Oh to be a hardware all star superstar.

To provide the best customer service; fit perfectly with your community; find the niche categories for your locals; and have the people and personalities to create the certain something we look for.

This year’s class of STIHL Hardware All Stars marks the 14th year of the program, in which editors recognize one business from each of the 50 states.

We visited with, and talked to, stores and dealer markets, distributors and suppliers, even studied customer reviews on social media to help determine the honorees. And that’s how we found our latest hardware superstars.

Here’s more on the criteria:

Innovation in operations, marketing or merchandising; High performance, exhibited through expansion, success or sales growth;

Customer focus, community centricity and a commitment to the traditions of the hardware and building supply industry.

Qualities like those make the magic happen, and become our hardware all stars.

The selection process is tough — because there are so many terrific hardware stores across the nation. It’s about being unique, and building on an outstanding story.

Our call for the top candidates in 2024 was answered by these following all stars — what we call the superstar hardware stores for this year.

For more All Star coverage, visit HBSDealer.com


Alabama: Russell Building Supply in Auburn

Alaska: Glennallen Hardware and Lumber in Glennallen

Arizona: Southwest Lumber in Yuma

Arkansas: Whit Davis Lumber Plus in Jacksonville

California: Los Altos True Value

Colorado: Circle Ace

Connecticut: Keough’s Do it Best Paint and Hardware

Delaware: Smyrna Community Hardware

Florida: Hagan Ace Hardware

Georgia: Midway Ace

Hawaii: City Mill in Honolulu

Idaho: C & M Lumber

Illinois: Whitmore Ace

Indiana: McCord’s Do it Best

Iowa: Lockridge Lumber and Hardware in Centerville

Kansas: Woods Lumber

Kentucky: Jeffries Hardware and Wholesale Electric

Louisiana: Abita Lumber

Maine: Randolph Do it Best Hardware

Maryland/DC: Frager’s Ace Hardware

Massachusetts: Mid Cape

Michigan: Sanford Hardware

Minnesota: Jerry’s Do it Best Hardware

Mississippi: Hometown Hardware in Flora

Missouri: Pack’s Hardware Smithville

Montana: Montana Ace Hardware

Nebraska: David City Ace Hardware

Nevada: Bath Lumber Company

New Hampshire: LaValley Building Supply

New Jersey: McAfee Hardware in Vernon Township

New Mexico: Cardinal Hardware and Lumber

New York: Millwood Hardware

North Carolina: Town Hardware and General Store

North Dakota: Home of Economy

Ohio: Gillman Home Center in Eaton

Oklahoma: Walker’s Do it Best Hardware and Lumber

Oregon: Jerry’s Home Improvement

Pennsylvania: Quincy Hardware

Rhode Island: Arnold Lumber Company

South Carolina: Royall Ace Hardware

South Dakota: Hamlin — Lake Norden Building Center

Tennessee: Walker Lumber and Hardware

Texas: Jabo’s Ace Hardware

Utah: Intermountain Farmers

Vermont: Sticks & Stuff

Virginia: Fairfax Ace Hardware

Washington: Co-Op Farm and Garden in Sequim

West Virginia: Byrnside Hardware, Danville

Wisconsin: Bloomer Hardware

Wyoming: Benedict’s Ace Hardware




Russell Building Supply in Auburn

Store manager Mike Emfinger and Assistant Store Manager Travis Fann aren’t afraid to take risks, whether it’s tweaking merchandise displays or carrying items other retailers shy away from. Auburn’s power aisle navigates shoppers through expertly designed assortments and exciting endcaps featuring whimsical signage. That’s why this Do it Best dealer describes itself as “a showstopper.” Not far from Auburn University. The location has a 15,000 square foot store and full-service lumberyard.


Glennallen Hardware and Lumber in Glennallen

When Ernie and Rhonda Christian searched for a store to buy, this one wasn’t much to look at, but it spoke to them. The native Alaskans made the move to the remote town three hours from Anchorage to ensure this community wouldn’t lose the only home improvement store within a hundred miles. They added 3,000 square feet inside. They have many female DIYer customers. “They can come in and chat with our experts, grab a nail gun, a hot cup of coffee, and be on their way,” said Rhonda.


Southwest Lumber in Yuma

They’ve been serving Yuma county — agriculture and military — since 1973. GM Gannon Sullivan’s early stint in the paint department resulted in expert-level paint tinting skills customers still rely on today. This Do it Best dealer carved out a niche among snowbirds who need their winter homes serviced — timing their annual customer appreciation event in February upon those residents’ return. When they’re not supplying lumber for a new apartment complex, they supply materials for local Boy Scout troops.

Whit Davis Lumber Plus in Jacksonville

Establishing itself as a one-stop shop and go-to destination for home improvement and building materials around Greater Little Rock, they live by their motto “The plus is service.” Specializing in garage door installation, zero-mess insulation, and more, Whit Davis is driven to go above and beyond for their customers through a never-ending pursuit of excellence. They encourage customers to call ahead so the Whit Davis team has all the right products needed for any project and they can avoid unnecessary trips.

CONNECTICUT Keough’s Do it Best Paint and Hardware

In Ridgefield, this hardware store has been serving, encouraging, educating and supporting their customers for more than 50 years. Keough’s strives to reduce its carbon footprint too. Solar panels were installed on the store’s roof and they no longer use plastic bags. And owner Bill Keough keeps his 10,000 square foot location looking fresh. Faced with hurricanes and snowstorms, customers know emergency supplies are available and the team is ready to help. Also, their active Facebook page includes their popular store mascot, Buddy the Cat.


Los Altos True Value

Emerson Oliva is the hardware store manager at this independently owned and operated store that serves Los Altos and the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area communities. “We’re seeing trends with a lot of people doing their own DIY projects, from trellises and gardening to painting and now getting into more plumbing on their own, which is fun to see,” said the manager. The store sits on a quiet, sunny street, and the double front doors are always propped open, like open arms so welcoming, like a true All Star.


Darek Barnes is the owner of this hardware store in Colorado Springs. “We offer the best in the garden, power tools; DIY tools and hardware; and outdoor equipment like snow blowers, propane refills, and more,” he said. A customer wrote: “My first visit to this Ace Hardware location — and I’m hooked. The store is well lit, neat and clean. The aisles are clear and reasonably wide. The store clerks are available and helpful. Found everything I needed, plus two holiday gifts. Great stop for the morning.”


Smyrna Community Hardware

This Orgill dealer is a family owned local hardware store servicing two communities since 2008. They offer a customer friendly, relaxed shopping environment. “Here at Community Hardware our slogan is ‘Let us help you do it right,’ and our staff is always here to help.” A customer recently wrote this message: “This is my go to store, impressive stock and reasonable prices. Not like these box stores and you'll actually get help, and not have to self checkout.”

Hagan Ace in Florida strives for a five-star experience.

FLORIDA Hagan Ace Hardware

Hagan Ace Hardware was founded by Don Hagan in 1962. His son Bill Hagan now runs the company along with his grandson Jacob Hagan who is the director of store operations. “We have a saying at Hagan Ace, ‘We Strive for Five,’ meaning we always strive for a five star experience with every single customer,” said the company. STIHL is prominently featured at their Blanding, Green Cove Springs, Mandarin, Saint Augustine, Yulee, Glen Saint Mary and Callahan locations.

Alabama All Star Russell Building Supply, located near Auburn University. Emerson Oliva of Los Altos True Value described a high-level open-door policy.
outdoor living. MoistureShield StratosTM
living. Why
less? NextLevelDecking.com
StratosTM Composite Enhanced PVC Dive in and experience the next
is the only deck board that fuses the impenetrable protection and beauty of PVC with the rigid strength of composite. It’s the newest way we’re pushing the limits of what’s possible in outdoor
settle for

“The partnership that we have formed with their team from the first time we met, has been something special. The hours they spent listening to our needs and creating the ideal ‘stop in shop’ of fasteners was impressive. Their packaging, presentation and selection are the best, without comparison, so the choice was easy- Midwest Fastener”.

- Randy Saunders, Owner, Provision Ace Southern Pines

Exceeding Expectations. One Fastener Destination at a Time!

* Pictured, Store Manager Alex Wiseman
For your very own fastener destination, contact Glen @ 800-444-7313 x 120


ILLINOIS Whitmore Ace

Founded in 1896 and based in Wilmington, Whitmore Ace has a rich history of serving its customer needs with impeccable sales and service. This fifth-generation, family-owned and operated local hardware store group spans 14 locations across northeastern Illinois. Starting in 2017, Whitmore began a partnership with STIHL and has expanded the line across all locations. The business continues to increase its store count and has taken its place as a top retailer in northeastern Illinois.


McCord’s Do it Best

GEORGIA Midway Ace

After he lost his son Jeffrey to a rare illness, Alpharetta-based Midway Ace manager Bob Evans and his family set up the Jeffrey Campbell Evans Foundation to provide apartments to help patients and their caregivers in the Atlanta area, who are on the transplant list. Their future goal is an entire condominium complex. The store specializes in paint, power tools, lawn and garden, grilling, and STIHL. A customer left this comment: “The owner actually called me and took care of me. It’s good to see a business care about their customers.”

HAWAII City Mill in Honolulu

Known as Oahu’s favorite super hardware store — this is the store where Hawaii’s Kama’aina, or “Hawaiian residents,” shop. Third-generation Steven C. Ai and his sister Carol Ai May continue the hardware tradition established by their grandfather back in 1899. Across eight locations on the island, This Do it Best dealer is synonymous with home improvement projects. A Facebook page promotes Aloha Friday sales. Their annual Lunar New Year celebrations draw shoppers and spectators to see the Lion Dance performers.

IDAHO C & M Lumber

At the heart of the town of New Meadows for 60 years, their reach goes far beyond the roughly 500 people who live there. Nestled in a mountain valley, they extend their reach 75 miles in every direction, providing hardware, farm and ranch, and building materials to central Idaho. Third-generation owners Chris and Mark Peterson are deeply connected to their community — they are volunteer firemen and are involved in the planning of their town’s growth. Their Yule Tool sale is a holiday tradition, meaning kids of all ages fill wish lists.

Here’s an independent reinventing itself to remain relevant. Examples: When Radio Shack went under, this store expanded its RCA selection. When Staples closed, they opened a copy, print, and mail operation with a dedicated staff. And they’re now an authorized UPS store. They also boast an impressive 1,200 square-foot display of lighting and bath fixtures that rivals big boxes. Part of their community since 1935, involved in philanthropy and community events, this is a snapshot of how hardware survives and thrives, All Star style.


Lockridge Lumber and Hardware in Centerville

Let’s begin at the beginning — in 1946. Lockridge, Inc. was started by Bob Lockridge and his parents in Promise City as a small farm and hardware store. By 1968, they added lumber. Bob passed away in 1981. His nephew, Max Moore, hired Dale Housh as manager. Dale and his wife Jill became partners and eventually purchased Lockridge. The Centerville location opened in 1998. Dale, front row, Jill, and Courtney Power, and back row, Clint Housh and Caleb Housh operate the business today supplying materials for new home construction, remodeling, farm and fencing.

KANSAS Woods Lumber

Founded in 1889, fifth generation owner of this Do it Best dealer in Independence Mark Woods has implemented a new store design and merchandising programs to offer a greater variety of products. He said they, “work relentlessly to grow their business — always seeking to improve the customer experience.” Making houses into homes is their specialty, so Woods continually expands its large fleet of rental equipment — and is preparing an already active sixth generation to take over.


Jeffries Hardware and Wholesale Electric

As the name implies, Jeffries’ 5,000 square foot hardware store upstairs is complemented by an equally-sized wholesale electrical department downstairs. The staff can talk electrical codes, panel boards, and breakers and they give expert advice on new home layouts and remodeling projects. When Chris Lewis took over his dad’s store, he worked to similarly enhance his plumbing department by seeking the advice of a local pro. As a result, he added 1,000 feet of pipe and fittings to plumb a house, leading to a 300% growth in the category in the next four years.

LOUISIANA Abita Lumber

Described as “a builder’s dream, with a comprehensive selection of lumber and building materials and door, truss, and metal roofing plants,” this one-stop-shop sits within New Orleans’s popular Northshore. They’re a Circle of Excellence dealer for Andersen windows and doors. Their retail store boasts an endless selection of hardware and fasteners, and they are an independent STIHL dealer with MasterWrench Service certification techs. Catering to the area’s robust food culture, Abita has an extensive display of cooking equipment featuring Bayou outdoor cookers.

Midway Ace General Manager Bob Evans set up the Jeffrey Campbell Evans Foundation to help patients and their caregivers. At Lockridge Lumber and Hardware, Dale, front row, Jill, and Courtney Power, and back row, Clint Housh and Caleb Housh operate the business. Louisiana's Abita Lumber is a builder's dream and a 'Circle of Excellence' dealer.


Randolph Do it Best Hardware

Not wanting anyone to have to drive far for supplies, Rob Gardiner saw an opportunity to reestablish a hardware business in Randolph, not far from his fi rst store. Rob made sure every product category was as complete as possible. Their 100-foot selection of STIHL, with in-house MasterWrench STIHL repair techs, attract the pros. He scooped up goods from greenhouses that were closing to make Randolph a go-to for plants and garden tools. Plus, Rob and his wife Roxann prioritize giving back, supporting the local food bank and school programs.

company’s rise from its humble origins. From forklift operators and kitchen designers to hardware specialists and contractor sales agents, everyone who puts on a Mid-Cape shirt is invested in their fellow associates, and in every customer.


Sanford Hardware

When two dam failures caused historic flooding in 2020, Sanford Hardware was destroyed by intense levels of water and mud. A 20-year staple in town, the store, and its inventory were completely wiped out, so the community rallied to help pick up the pieces. Owners Dennis and Kathy Sian hosted a flood salvage fundraiser, and cars lined up to support the family hardware store operating from a temporary location. In 2021, Sanford Hardware’s beautiful, new ground up store opened in its original location with generous donations from building products suppliers and local electricians.


Founded in 1920, this iconic employee-owned Capitol Hill outpost has served DC customers for more than a century. Politicians, pundits and federal employees make up much of the clientele and you might even see cabinet secretaries wandering the aisles. The store is known for a 3,000 square foot lush outdoor garden center and a beautiful 500 square foot plant boutique called Foliage by Frager’s. Last year, Charlie Hawkins was named store manager. This is notable. Charlie started in the store a decade ago as a clerk in the Just Ask Rental department and now runs the operation.


The legacy began in 1895, when Captain Oscar C. Nickerson gave up command of the schooner Abel W. Parker and purchased what would later become Nickerson Lumber Company and eventually Mid-Cape Home Centers, an Orgill dealer. In 2012, the company was sold to local resident Jeff Plank. It was a moment to pay tribute to the


Jerry’s Do it Best Hardware

Starting as a single store more than 50 years ago, this hardware and rental has grown to fi ve locations serving Minneapolis. Mike Rummel oversees all fi ve stores with a focus on keeping a similar and consistent product mix in each store. But he encourages each store’s manager to make decisions that positively impact their store and uses analytics to make sure each store is well merchandised and easy to shop for the customer. Their goal has always remained the same: “To be the best hardware store in each of the communities that we serve.”


Hometown Hardware in Flora

When Mark Rowe took ownership of this business 20 miles north of Jackson in 2019, he immediately revitalized the store to enhance the shopping experience. He upgraded to LED fi xtures, added four new retail aisles, and remerchandised existing ones. Customers took notice — store sales tripled in the fi rst four years. The 10,000 square foot retail space and lumberyard has an array of products from riding lawn mowers and Stihl OPE, to pine straw and distinctive blends by a local honey producer. They also host fun Ladies’ Night classes and bi-weekly produce pickups for a local farm co-op.

MISSOURI Pack’s Hardware Smithville

Just north of Kansas City, Pack’s Hardware has been a Smithville staple for more than 50 years. Manager Sheryl Stang has enhanced product assortments and adjacencies by deepening their Milwaukee selection and expanding their farm and ranch category. She introduces herself to and actively pursues partnerships with new businesses — even gaining the business of a new big-name data center — so that Pack’s is their go-to for home improvement supplies. Pack’s team works hard to exceed expectations.

MONTANA Montana Ace Hardware

“We have five flagship locations, one nursery, and one small engine shop totaling seven locations in Western Montana and have been doing business here for over 30 years,” said Dan Conners, store manager. He said the Eastgate store has become the go-to destination for anything floating on the river in Missoula. “We sell thousands of river floats every year. Montana Ace also has a cult-like employee following.” His employees have a combined 130+ years of service just at the Eastgate location.

NEBRASKA David City Ace Hardware

Blake and Casey Burgess own David City Ace. “Our Mission with our family of stores is to help underserved America flourish,” they said. “We believe that the people that live in underserved America deserve a world class hardware store in their town just as much as cities and towns that are well off.” A customer Yelped: “Staff has always been super nice and helpful. My kids love their bottled soda with all the funky brands and flavors.” Besides David City, the Burgess Ace group family of stores consists of York and North Platte Nebraska, and others.

Frager's Ace Hardware, a Capitol Hill landmark and cool hardware store. Montana Ace team, from left: Francine White, dept. head; Cole Werdin, floor manager; Mary Borrelli, assistant store manager; Danel Conners, store manager.


Bath Lumber Company has been serving their community for 65 years. Their “outdoor” department is pretty darn good.


Bath Lumber Company

Out here — where the desert meets the blue sky, near Ely — owners Jim and Tom Bath have a business. They want you to know a few things: “We depend on our community to support us. We believe it is important for us to return that through supporting local causes and charities. We show this support through service to the local Chamber of Commerce and by sponsoring other worthwhile causes such as the Children’s Miracle Network, high school sports programs, and Little League.” They’ve been serving the community for 65 years — their “outdoor” department is pretty darn good.


LaValley Building Supply

1962 — that’s how long they have served their customers. Reliable service and honest dealing were the underpinnings of LaValley’s success in those opening days. Today, this Orgill dealer continues these steadfast virtues to guide the three-generation family business. Company founders, Harold and Gerry LaValley, remain active in the business, and the LaValley-Middleton brand today consists of 12 locations that “offer our customers a ‘one stop shop’ for all of their building needs,” they said.


McAfee Hardware in Vernon Township

Ron Williams bought a hardware store in a small mountain town an hour north of New York City — and saw an opportunity to make his store a local destination. He quickly expanded the small footprint into a 10,000 square foot home and garden center with convenience lumber and building materials. On a tight budget, he took a chance with a basic cable TV commercial, with the tagline: “We know what the hell we’re doing.” Turns out, it would follow him for the next 35 years. Strangers have repeated that line back to Ron on his travels.

NEW MEXICO Cardinal Hardware and Lumber

Let’s time travel back to July 1997…. “We opened the doors of a hardware store and lumber yard in Eunice, and have since expanded our interests to include a manufacturing division and a transport company,” said the owners. They’ve also opened a yard in Midland, Texas, to better serve the Permian Basin as a whole. This family owned business, and Orgill dealer, sells calverts, cattle guards, fencing, hardware and lumber. Eunice has a population of 2,922, located in the southeast part of the state. “We are down to earth, and very much a part of our community,” said the owners.

JoAnn Virag, owner of Millwood Hardware says: “Women are happy there is a woman in the store they can talk to.”

NEW YORK Millwood Hardware

Owner and known people-person JoAnn Virag took over her dad’s iconic store when she was young. Her range of products in key categories is matched only by her ability to find what customers are looking for, and figure out how things work. She’s intentional about getting young people connected to the hardware industry, and brings in employees from failed businesses to gain work hours. JoAnn supports groups in four surrounding towns on a rotating basis. She’s even carved out space in her store for organizations to use for their own fundraising efforts.

NORTH CAROLINA Town Hardware and General Store

When Peter and Beth Ballhaussen bought Town

Hardware and General Store in 2013, they soon learned it was really “owned” by the community. A fixture in Black Mountain since the 1920s, the store is an enduring symbol of locally-owned small business. The old-fashioned hardware and general store, complete with creaky floors and tin ceilings, offers a huge variety of traditional hardware and hard-to-find gifts, housewares, and retro games and toys. Also, they created a bookstore on the first floor promoting books on tourism for those visiting nearby Asheville.

NORTH DAKOTA Home of Economy

This Orgill dealer based in Minot, has eight locations in the state. They sell work clothing and work boots; they’re a STIHL dealer, and are a BBQ HQ. Founded in 1939 in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, by Bob Kiesau and his wife, Jean, Home of Economy was originally an auto parts wholesale business. In February 1940, Bob started a store in Grand Forks, North Dakota, recapping used tires at night and selling them during the day. The business has, “expanded greatly beyond our early beginnings but our goal has never changed: Provide every customer with the products and services they need.”


Gillman Home Center in Eaton

The business calls itself: “Your building supply place. We carry hardware, lumber, windows, doors, lawn and garden supplies, plumbing supplies, grills, kitchen cabinets and more.” Gillman Home Centers also rent tools and equipment from small to large. In 1962, Carl Gillman and his brother Leo (Dick) founded Gillman Brother’s Lumber. That small lumber yard ignited an interest in retail and building materials in one of Carl’s 10 children — Charlie. Today, this second-generation home builder runs the company with his sons and 400 other team members.

With roots in auto parts, Home of Economy has grown into a North Dakota hardware All Star.

Strong Enough for the Toughest Environments

Ascend Exterior® Water-Based Clear Finish is a durable coating designed for exterior application, making it perfect for railings, outdoor furniture, doors, and windowsills.

• Resists water and weather

• Advanced ultraviolet protection

• Clear, durable finish

• Dries quickly and cleans easily

• Designed for exterior application on wood, fiberglass, coated metal, or painted surfaces

• Available in matte, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss sheens

SCAN QR CODE FOR MORE INFORMATION myoldmasters.com | (800) 747-3436 | COME JOIN OUR FAMILY


Walker’s Do it Best Hardware and Lumber

Surrounded by state parks and waterfront homes in the foothills of the Ozarks, Langley Home Center had fallen into disrepair. Craig and Debbie Walker gladly rescued the tired business and breathed new life into it. They expanded their business into a new building with 10,000 square feet of space, gave it a new name, and returned the business to the prominence it once held in the community. Soon they constructed an all-new building with a rental department that features Husqvarna, Bobcat and STIHL.


Arnold Lumber Company

In 1911 the first Indianapolis 500 race was held. Meanwhile in Rhode Island, Carold “Kit” D. Arnold was busy purchasing a small wood lot N. Kingstown. Logs were cut by hand then taken to a local sawmill to be planed. Not quite equipped as a retail location, often customers would come by on Sunday, even though no one was there, pick out the wood they needed, and leave a note saying they would return to make payment on Monday. Today it offers building materials, a full line of masonry supplies, cabinetry, and a kitchen and bath design center and showroom.


Royall Ace Hardware

Four palm trees sway on the parkway where Coleman Blvd. splits. And the Royall sign out there is correctly spelled with two letter ‘l’s. This 40 year old family owned hardware store lives by its motto: “If we don't have it… you don’t need it.” The business sits in the center of Mt. Pleasant, a town on the Atlantic Ocean across the bay from Charleston. One Yelper’s review seems to say it all: “Their garden center is well known by all the locals for their great section of plants in perfect condition. It does not get any better than this.”

OREGON Jerry’s Home Improvement

Jerry’s, Eugene’s original discount building material store, was founded in November 1961 by Jerry and Merle Orem, and has grown from two employees to hundreds. The store opened for business with a 5,000 square foot store, but after many remodels and expansions, Jerry’s ran out of space. In 1996, this Orgill dealer opened the doors of a brand new 350,000 square foot facility. In December 2010, Dennis Orem transitioned ownership to the employees through an ESOP, allowing them to become partners in the store’s growth.


Quincy Hardware

Aside from Quincy Hardware’s excellent product selection as an independent STIHL dealer in Waynesboro, a town of 17,000, not too far from the state line with Maryland, in the Cumberland Valley, their customer service is, “over the top, reminiscent of a bygone era,” said a regular customer familiar with them. “I saw the owner, Simon Hess, hand a customer a roll of fencing, telling him to, ‘take it along, cut what you need, and bring the roll back. We’ll settle up then.’ Where else does this happen in this day and age?”


Hamlin — Lake Norden Building Center

This locally-owned and small-town company was founded in 1992. The owners said: “We currently have two full-service lumber yards

works closely with contractors and homeowners to supply lumber, building materials and construction services needed for new home construction, commercial construction, renovations, remodeling and DIY projects.” And they deliver materials to all the neighboring counties.

Walker Lumber and Hardware in Nashville, for 75 years and going, has everything the pro or the weekend warrior needs to get their project done.


Walker Lumber and Hardware

Weekend warrior? Pro builder? This Nashville lumber yard and building supply store, and Orgill dealer, for 75 years and going, has everything you need to get your project done. And their team matters. “We get so many compliments about how sharp our team always looks, branding matters to us. We wanted the guys in our Second Chance program to feel special so we reached out to Poncho Outdoors and asked them to partner with us to give the guys in our program and fellow co-workers a gift to make them feel appreciated.” They all received stylish shirts for weekend wear while not at work.



Ace Hardware

Family owned and operated business with five locations across Dallas-Fort Worth.

The Jablonowski family has been instrumental over the years in the success and growth of the local hardware industry in DFW and continues to be key leaders in the group of North Texas Ace retailers. “We set the tone for the commercial Christmas light business in the metroplex and created a unique boutique area in their stores known as ‘The Cove’ to cater to all customers,” said the owners.


Intermountain Farmers

“From the coop to the co-op,” that’s what they like to say at their IFC stores, and they

Jerry’s Home Improvement, employeeowned, opened the doors on a brand new 350,000 square foot facility. Solomon Hess stands in the STIHL aisle at his store in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

have 23 of them mostly in Utah, and some in other western states. They sell chicken breeds and poultry feeds; weed preventers and garden tillers; shelters, troughs, compost and mulch. This locally owned farmers cooperative and Orgill dealer has been doing business since 1923. The elegantly simple saying they live by is a sweet one, and it goes like this: “Helping to grow the things you love.”

VERMONT Sticks & Stuff

Kris Bullock and Jeff Lamphere, the owners, make sure associates are always ready to greet customers as they enter the store. They take pride in getting to know customers on a personal level outside of the store too. A saw blade with their logo on it is instantly recognizable across all of northern Vermont through TV ads, flyers and billboards. Initiatives supporting Round Up for Change and Martha’s Kitchen are showcased on their website blog, and they painted one of their trucks pink to support breast cancer awareness.

VIRGINIA Fairfax Ace Hardware

This store has achieved STIHL Elite dealer status and has two gold and two silver Stihl technicians on staff. They’ve received Ace’s Pinnacle achievement award and maintain platinum dealer status with Traeger and Big Green Egg. “We have been Ace Hardware’s top performing single e-commerce location nationally more than once,” said the owner. “I’m most proud of the store’s community engagement.” This includes $20,000 raised for Children’s National Hospital. The store became employee-owned when it was acquired by the Cool Hardware Company last year.

WASHINGTON Co-Op Farm and Garden in Sequim

The store is sprawling, charming, cute and eclectic — all at the same time. They use Facebook a lot, often multiple times a day. They sell live plants. They sell tools and hardware. They sell lots of stuff. And they call their baby chickens cutie pies. It’s all posted online, along with snappy banter. Here’s a recent sample: “While we are on the subject of entertaining, look at these cute plates and a serving tray. There are two new gluten free snack options. These Zany Bites are plant based. We sampled them this morning. Wow! Big fl avor!” This True Value is the epitome of an All Star.

The Co-Op Farm and Garden in Sequim is charming, eclectic, and active in social media. Live plants are a specialty.

ging crews, excavating crews, and mining reclamation crews soon were not only buying equipment and parts but also hardware and grass seeds for reclamation. The next move was to buy an adjacent furniture store. They continue to grow today.

WISCONSIN Bloomer Hardware

Just north of Eau Claire a store opened in 1938. Now and for the past 20 years, the Naas family’s community-fi rst approach has served them well. They relocated the store to an old softball fi eld in 2015 and added a greenhouse. They added lumber and building materials to the mix last year. Next to traditional hardware, customers can fi nd health and beauty products, toys and games, mini storage units for rent, and even sewing machine repair. They appeal to their “outdoorsy customers” by keeping niche items like maple sugaring supplies.

WYOMING Benedict’s Ace Hardware

WEST VIRGINIA Byrnside Hardware, Danville

Diversity has been a key to success for this independent STIHL dealer. Owner Fred Byrnside opened the store in 1979. The fi rst big move was purchasing an existing Homelite/ Gravely dealer, then adding STIHL. Fred next turned his attention to feed and seed. Log-

Family owned, and opened just four years ago, this business strives to make a difference for kids and their families by raising money to help Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. This hardware family in Mountain View also utilizes their Facebook page to constantly tell customers about seasonal products and gardening tips — right now it’s about fighting grubs that will turn into beetles this spring. A Google reviewer recently posted this: “Hats off to the Benedict family for opening a store that has so much to offer.”

Intermountain Farmers sell chicken breeds and poultry feeds; weed preventers and garden tillers; shelters, troughs, compost and mulch. Byrnside Hardware, owned by Fred Byrnside, on left, opened in 1979. The first big moves were purchasing a Homelite/ Gravely dealer, then adding STIHL.

Inside the mind of the merchant


What moves do you make when an item isn’t moving? How should a store balance the sometimes-conflicting goals of offering everything the customer needs, and maximizing every square foot of the sales floor?

“This is a pretty hotly discussed topic between myself and the parents,” said Mitch Stadtlander.

He and his wife Hannah took over his parents’ little general store called Cedar Mountain True Value in Duck Creek Village, located in southwest Utah.

“While they can often be averse to losses, I fully believe that if something is on the shelf for too long, it needs to be replaced with something that will move quicker,” he said.

Duck Creek Village, he explained, is an unincorporated area near Zion. “It’s about 30 miles to the nearest big box or grocery store, so it’s important that we carry everything tourists and cabin owners need to survive up here,” said the co-owner.

“That includes your standard hardware, produce, frozen meats, camping, clothing — I really mean everything,” he emphasized.

All hardware store owners reach a certain point where they

must make that critical “return on investment” determination about items on their shelves.

How does a hardware store owner decide when it’s time to take slow-moving items away?

“My wife will frequently review low flow items in low-earning sections of the store. I don’t know how other stores handle it, but we like to review the annual sales,” he said.

They are much less focused on niches or wants at their store.

“We primarily try to save somebody’s vacation, or at least keep them from having to burn half a tank of gas just to get the one thing they forgot,” said Stadtlander.

All that being said, “a lot of low-flow products for us get to stay if they have the potential to really save someone,” he said. “But if a product isn’t critical and hasn’t moved through summer heat, winter snow, or spring mud, it’s got to go.”

Go time

There comes a time in the life of hardware store items when the owner must ask a hard question.

This owner shares his thoughts about the moment he decides to either remove a product, discount it, or hang in there with it.

“One method we’ve used recently, that has really simplified the decision-making process, is simply discounting the item — we use colored-dots on the bin label to indicate sales — and seeing if it begins to move,” he said.

If the item clears quickly after discount, then it’s

28 May 2024 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com Market Insights
Cedar Mountain True Value in remote Duck Creek Village, Utah, caters to tourists and cabin owners mith an eclectic merchandise mix. Cedar Mountain True Value Owners Mitch and Hannah Stadtlander describe certain slow-moving items—like diapers—as "emergency solvers."

apparent to the owners that price might be the issue.

“If it still isn’t moving, we’ll discount it deeper. And if it still doesn’t move, we remove it,” he said.

Along the way on the journey to remove items, or not remove, the owners said they learned about customer habits related to product placement in their store.

“One thing I’ve learned about my own specific store, is that having a good-better-best model can often be detrimental,” he said.

“Our floor space is only about 4,000 square feet, and I have to have everything. I’ve found that for many consumables or cheaper tools, if there are two brands, and one is even $0.50 cheaper than the oth er, they will almost always go with the cheaper one.

“Even if the materials or ingredients are a mile away in quality, the #1 driver for their choice is price, to such a degree that even $0.50 will completely stall sales on the more expensive option and clear out the cheaper one right next to it,” he said.

Do good

Specific customer needs in a community can trigger a hardware owner’s decision to stay with an item.

“It’s the criticality of that particular item in relation to a project or emergency. I don’t care if I only sell one box of diapers a year, I’m not going to stop selling them,” he said.

“That’s because the difference between me having those diapers or not can be a make-or-break event for a family who’s only visiting on their short weekend and drove four hours to be here,” said Stadtlander.

He tries to always keep other emergency-solvers on hand regardless of margin or sales.

“Things like sandbags, wiper blades and blankets. Basically, I just think of how awful I would feel telling someone I didn't have it,” said this owner.

He passed along a tip to other owners and managers.

“Holding onto stock can quickly become as expensive as getting rid of it. As much as a store might seem like a collection of assets, it’s more of a constant flow of goods, both in and out. If there is a clog to that flow, you need to figure out how to fix it,” he said.

Simply stocking your shelves with best-sellers can seem like a great way to maximize gross sales, he said, but for small, locally owned stores, your image matters for long-term health.

The hardware owner said: “If you can afford to save somebody’s week with a seldom-purchased item, I think there’s a lot of value to be found in that.”

Diversity and discounts

The second owner is Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Ace Hardware, with 13 stores — 12 hardware stores and one paint store — in Florida.

He talks about the challenges and experience needed to handle products that might not be moving off of retail hardware store shelves.

“Balancing a diverse assortment of SKUs to cater to various customer preferences while simultaneously ensuring strong cash flow and overall profitability can pose a challenge for businesses with an average inventory of more than 35,000 unique SKUs,” said Wynn.

Discounting is an art and science for Michael Wynn (back row, center) of 13-store Sunshine Ace. Above is the retailer’s new Founders Square location in Naples, Florida.

He poses this question hardware owners can ask themselves: What process should you use to determine which SKUs are justifying their space on the shelf?

The simple answer is that there isn’t a simple answer, he said. “Each category of product brings with it some special attributes that can require a thoughtful approach before removing it.”

However, the hardware owner added: "Items not sold in two years or more, and items turning 1 time a year or less get the immediate attention for removal as obsolete items.”

At his hardware business they try to keep obsolete inventory at less than 4.5% of their total inventory — with their current levels at just over 3%.

“That being said, we have unique high end SKUs that we carry to create an overall impression on our dominance in a category that may only sell 1x a year and we are perfectly fine with that. High end fishing reels are an example of this,” said Wynn.

As a general rule, he said, “our discounting structure to maximize cost recovery while creating an expedited SKU removal process typically runs 25% — 50% — 75% — and finally 90% off retail with 30 days separating each discount tier.”

That works for the average of their high margin items. But he said large bulky items that take up valuable space will likely start off at a 50% markdown to maximize labor productivity and retail space.

“Or categories like apparel that we may be heavily overstocked on and have higher margins — we may also move immediately to 50%,” said the owner, “to move quickly in cost recovery so we can reinvest in higher turn, higher productive SKUs.”

We will typically start off, he said, with a lower discount percentage when selling slow moving power tools or other low margin items.

“You have to be careful and be strategic in how you apply the ‘general rules’ that clearly don’t work across all categories,” said Wynn.


Top Women Profile Series


Amber Tidd, an operations manager for Metrie in Columbia, Maryland, entered the building products industry almost by accident.

The pandemic played a role. In 2020, she was working remotely from home for a non-pro t government contractor as a scheduler. And she had a lot of extra time on her hands.

In an e-mail exchange with HBSDealer, the 2023 Top Women Rising Star honoree explained her career-changing move.

“Like many others, I used that extra time to self-re ect. I realized I was feeling complacent in my career growth. I updated my resume and posted it to a few of the popular job boards. One day I received a call from an unknown number. (I typically do not pick up unknown numbers because of scam calls, but I did on that day.) On the other end of the call was a recruiter pitching an open position for an inside sales representative. I liked the pitch and asked him to send me the information. I did my research and next thing you know, it was 4 interviews later with Metrie and I received an offer letter.”

Tidd began her career in the building supply industry “eager and ready to learn.” Knowing the best way to succeed was to become an asset to the organization, she focused on building relationships, both with customers and with other Metrie staff.

Additionally, she followed advice that she considers to be the best she’s ever received: to advocate for yourself.

She explained::

“About a year-and-a-half ago I took an opportunity to be openly transparent with my sales leadership team,” she said. “During a quarterly review I expressed to them that I no longer had interest in pursuing the traditional sales pathway that I was currently on. The most nerve-wracking conversation was explaining I had an interest in pursuing a career in operations with no operations background. I only had experience in

“I had days that felt invigorating like the drop on a roller coaster. I had days that felt like the climb up the hill.”

Notes from Chicago

"Attending the Top Women event last year in Chicago was inspiring. It was a great opportunity to meet the other winners and attendees. I enjoyed networking and learning about other’s careers in the building material industry. The various speakers and panelists created an environment that allowed a community of women from across North America to connect and lift each other up.

The event reminded many of us that we are not alone in this industry and we can achieve anything we put our minds to. Additionally, we have many resources and allies across this industry that are here to support us." —Amber Tidd

sales and customer service. Many conversations later, I transitioned to a newly created position as Assistant Operations Manager. Advocating for myself, taking the initiative, and being transparent was the best career decision I have ever made.”

She described the transition from sales to operations as like a ride on a roller coaster.

“Operations was a different type of environment. I had days that felt invigorating like the drop on a roller coaster ride. I had days that felt like the climb up the hill. I threw on my safety boots and was ready to get dirty. I knew I did not want to be the type of leader that sat behind a desk for the majority of the day. I wanted to be on the oor with the team and learn hands on to truly understand their roles and experiences”

Tidd quickly discovered the operations team was welcoming and helpful. Not a surprise, given the company’s efforts to build employee engagement through the development and inclusion programs. Among the Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are Women’s Network, Hispanic & Latin Network, Black Excellence Network, Pride Network, and Learning Network.

The LIFT Cohort is a 4-part professional development program for Metrie women which covers topics like building con dence and identifying your purpose, a program that helped her “gain more con dence in myself,” she said.

—Amber Tidd, operations manger, Metrie

The move to operations had another bene t: customer service. “Together we were able to combine our various backgrounds and implement adjustments to improve our customers experiences and the working relationship between operations and sales.”


People In The News

Do it Best appointed Eric Knox as the new director of LBM sales. Formerly the director of strategic business development, Knox brings a track record and a wealth of sales experience. Knox will focus on expanding the reach and enhancing the sales strategies within the Lumber and Building Materials (LBM) division. “We are confident that with Eric, our team will achieve significant growth and continue to deliver exceptional value to our members,” said Russ Kathrein, vice president of LBM.

Orgill CEO Boyden Moore was named by Memphis Magazine as 2024 “CEO of the Year.” “I’m honored to be recognized for CEO of the Year,” he told the magazine.“But the truth of the matter is, it’s really the team that makes everything happen.” In early 2020, Boyden was promoted from president to CEO. Moore’s career highlights include the founding of Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) and leading Marvin’s, the Alabama-based home improvement retailing chain.

Tony Ramm was named senior vice president of manufacturing for Roseburg . He will drive an increased emphasis on the sustainable, long-term success of the manufacturing side of the company’s wood products business. Ramm first joined Roseburg in May 2014 as plant manager at Riddle Plywood and moved through roles of progressive responsibility on the operations side of the business.

Herndon, Virginia-based  Beacon appointed Prithvi (Prith) Gandhi as executive vice president and chief financial officer.  Prior to joining Beacon, Gandhi was VP, finance and CFO at TAMKO Building Products, a roofing products manufacturer and supplier for the last two years where he led initiatives that drove business insights and financial leverage resulting in improved operational performance.

Lita Abele, president and CEO of U.S. Lumber Inc. of Woodbury, New Jersey, has been honored as the 2024 Small Business Person of the Year for New Jersey. The U.S. Small Business Administration recently unveiled the roster of its 2024 Small Business Persons of the Year program, with honorees representing every state. "In every challenge lies an opportunity to grow stronger and more resilient,” she said.

Central States, a manufacturer of metal building components, roofing, and building packages, has named Ahmed Abdelaal to the new role as VP of engineering and operations for the Central States Building Works division. Abdelaal brings almost three decades of industry experience working for some of the largest pre-engineered metal building companies in the U.S. and internationally. For the last 12 years, Ahmed has served global companies by building out factories and technical capabilities in executive operations roles.

LMC bolsters its board

LMC appointed two industry leaders with industry experience and unique perspectives to its board of directors.

Eddie Crosslin, owner and operator of Crosslin Building Supply in Eagleville, Tennessee; and Matthew Kuiken, fourth-generation owner and operator of  New Jersey-based Kuiken Brothers, are joining the board of the Wayne, Pennsylvania-based forest products and building materials buying group.

Eddie Crosslin has seen consolidation and come out the other side and knows first-hand the impact of consolidation on family-owned businesses in the industry.

“The consolidation we’re seeing today is causing already large companies to continue to get  larger,” Eddie said. “At the same time, as a group, LMC dealers are larger than any of them. If dealers can see the value in all of us working together and purchasing together, there will  continue to be a place for us in the industry.

Matthew Kuiken runs a diverse business in one of the most complex markets.  Founded in 1912, Kuiken Brothers currently boasts 325 employees across nine  locations in New York and New Jersey.

On his appointment to the board, Kuiken said, “Good governance requires constant change and new perspectives because our industry is always changing.”

“Housing inventory in the United States is nowhere near where it should be to support  population growth, shifting demographics, and changes in the community landscape,” Kuiken said. “These are opportunities for our industry, but they come with the challenge to diversify our  businesses. There is an opportunity for LMC and our dealers to respond to this shifting market  place.”

Kuiken, left, and Crosslin. Knox Moore Ramm Gandhi Abele Abdelaal
34 May 2024 HARDWARE + BUILDING SUPPLY DEALER HBSDealer.com 50 40 30 20 10 0 3.37 the percent-change performance of stocks based on May 2 prices Consumer confidence indexed to a value of 100 in 1985 Unemployment rate for the entire United States SOURCES: LABOR DEPARTMENT, THE CONFERENCE BOARD, AAA Gas prices average price per gallon (regular) Current Prior month Prior year Total starts (in thousands, SAAR) Mar: 1,321,000 140 60 80 100 120 April $5.00 $2.00 $3.00 $4.00 May 2
Consumer Watch Monthly
not adjusted HBSDealer Stock Roundup 13 months of housing starts and existing-home sales home centers and pro dealers (NAICS 444) and hardware stores (NAICS 44413) NAICS 444 (sales in $ billions) NAICS 44413 (sales in $ billions) Single-family starts (in thousands, SAAR) Mar.: 1,022,000 BECN (BEACON); BLDR (BUILDERS FIRSTSOURCE); BMCH (BMC STOCK HOLDINGS); MAS (MASCO CORP.); HD (HOME DEPOT); LOW (LOWE’S); SHW (SHERWIN-WILLIAMS); SWK (STANLEY); TSCO (TRACTOR SUPPLY); WY (WEYERHAEUSER); DJIA (DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE) SOURCE: MONTHLY RETAIL TRADE REPORT FROM THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU 20.0 0.0 2.0 10.0 4.0 6.0 8.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 18.0 April JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH DECEMBER JANUARY FEBRUARY 4 3 2 1 0 2023 2024 2022 2023 2024 SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT M A M J J A S O N D J F M 1800 1700 1600 1500 1400 1300 1200 1100 1000 900 Existing-home sales (in millions, SAAR) Mar.: 4,190,000 SOURCE: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS 7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5 4 3.5 M A M J J A S O N D J F M MONTHLY CHANGE ANNUAL CHANGE -15 -12 -9 -6 -3 0 3 6 100 80 60 40 20 0 SOURCE: COMMERCE DEPARTMENT M A M J J A S O N D J F M 1400 1300 1200 1100 1000 900 800 700 600 $3.67 90.7 3.9% 33.1 34.1 35.4 34.3 3.31 39.1 42.2 2.65 2.75 2.86 2.99 WY BECN BLDR MAS LOW SHW SWK HD DJI TSCO
Residential Construction/Sales
Retail Sales,


ASCEND 12" Board & Batten Composite Cladding. As industry leaders, you’ve witnessed the impact of our original ASCEND Composite Cladding, which set a new standard in beauty, durability, and ease of installation. Now picture all the same exceptional qualities, reimagined in a sophisticated board and batten design. It’s the next best thing in the best exterior cladding to elevate your projects to new heights.


• Available in a 7" plank and 12" board & batten

• Easier and quicker to install than fiber cement and engineered wood

• No skilled labor, special tools or respirators needed

• Fewer steps—no sealing, touching up, joint flashing or caulking

• Exclusive (GP)² Technology® ensures minimal maintenance and maximum durability

• Tall exposures and deeply grained look of real wood


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.