Hardware Retailing

JAN 2018

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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Independent Thinking Y ou may be wondering why this doesn't look like the same Independent Thinking column you have found on this page for the better part of the past decade. Or, you might be looking at the picture on this page and saying, "That's not Bill Lee." Well, you'd be correct on both counts. Bill Lee, the long-time president and CEO of the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), retired at the end of 2017 after serving this association and independent retailers for more than 20 years. This month, I officially stepped into Bill's former role. In many ways, this column will serve as my formal introduction to many of you, and I can't adequately express how honored and humbled I am to get the opportunity to help shape the future of your association and continue its strong legacy of service to the industry. In the future, I will share this column space with other members of our team here at NRHA who will keep you up to date on our different programs and services and share the work they are doing to help your businesses succeed. Having grown up and worked in a family business for much of my early career, I have a particular affinity for the work we do here at NRHA. My mother and father owned and operated an independent printing and publishing business in the heart of my hometown, Washington, D.C. Like many of you who grew up around small family businesses, I cut my teeth and learned the ropes of management, customer service, operations and finance as much around the dinner table as I did in the office. During this time, I learned so much about how a business truly becomes part of a family. How the employees are like your brothers and sisters, how the lines between personal and business expenses can easily blur, and how the joys and stresses that take place from 8 to 5 don't fit neatly into business hours. I learned so much working with my family, and I really cherish that experience, but also like many of you, a time came when I felt my path took me away from the family operation, and I took a position with a larger corporate printing and publishing company. During this time, I got to see the stark differences (both positive and negative) between a family operation and a large corporation. Eventually, all this experience led me to NRHA where I was tapped to run NRHA's catalog publishing operation and then its sales organization. Over the years, I gradually became more involved with all aspects of the association and gained a keen appreciation for our association's mission—helping hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards, regardless of wholesale affiliation, run better and more profitable businesses. This mission is more than just a statement for our organization and our employees. It is central to everything we do, and from my desk to that of our newest employee, we are all dedicated to fulfilling this pledge. In the coming months, I will be visiting with as many of you as I can to listen to your stories and see if there are ways NRHA can better serve you. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly with any questions or comments or if you just want to swap stories about the ups and downs of family business. Bob Cutter, President and CEO bcutter@nrha.org " In the coming months, I will be visiting with as many of you as I can to listen to your stories and see if there are ways NRHA can better serve you. " New Role, Same Mission HARDWARE RETAILING | January 2018 8

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