Hardware Retailing

JAN 2019

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING 42 DISTRIBUTOR PROFILE SERIES In 2014, a fire destroyed businesses near Nelson True Value, and the team faced a new future when they decided relocate. "Our original location in Prairie du Chien had been in the same building since 1970," Dan says. "Our store just had smoke damage after the fire, but we decided it was time to move. We worked with True Value and began planning a ground-up store, which we built in 2015." As they built the new store, Jacob was there to oversee construction. He also became the store's manager. "True Value was extremely helpful as we built our store," Jacob says. "We used the Destination True Value program, and they helped us select planograms and products." A Passion for People For Dan and Jacob, operating retail businesses in small communities is something they are passionate about. "My favorite aspect of my job is working with customers," Jacob says. "I wake up and look forward to coming to work every day, because I am helping our loyal customers." Dan and Jacob understand the importance of investing in the communities they serve. Both stores face big-box competition from chains like Walmart and Tractor Supply Co., but the team believes employee knowledge and deep inventory help set them up for success. A Future-Focused Distributor Nelson True Value has been part of True Value since the mid-1970s, and according to Dan, the wholesaler has always been a supportive partner to their family business. One area where Dan and Jacob have been able to improve and expand with help from their wholesaler is their rental department. "In my opinion, True Value was really a pioneer in the store-within-a-store concept in regard to rental," Dan says. "With their help, we got that program off the ground in the 1990s and now, rental is one of our biggest departments at both of our stores." Paint is another product area where True Value has helped the store stand out against competition. It was one of the first locations across the country to have the updated True Value Inspiration Realized color center, which is a modular program that can work in stores of all sizes. The business utilizes other True Value programs, including its marketing and advertising initiatives, as well as the True Value Rewards program. When True Value announced plans to sell 70 percent ownership of the organization to ACON Investments, Dan says he was skeptical due to his loyalty to the established co-op model. However, Jacob had a more objective perspective, and they decided to use the return on capital to strengthen the future of the business. "We took the money we got back from True Value and paid down debt," Dan says. "My business partner and co-owner Mark is retiring, and I'm looking at retiring in the next six or seven years, so we've been able to use our money to focus on the transition to Jacob running the business. It really was a blessing." As the father-son team continues to focus on the future, they know they can count on True Value to provide innovative products and programs to help the business succeed. "True Value has new and fresh ideas, from pricing and products to logistics," Dan says. "We really appreciate their focus on changing and strengthening their advertising and marketing program, which has a strong focus on digital and social media. And the True Value Rewards program has also been a fantastic way for us to connect with customers and build stronger relationships. Getting people to walk in the door is crucial right now, and marketing and Rewards are two ways we can continue to do that." Nelson True Value was one of the first stores to implement the True Value Inspiration Realized color center, a modular display. " True Value has new and fresh ideas, from pricing and products to logistics. " —Dan Kanis, Nelson True Value

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