Do it Best Corp. has long been home to the world’s most successful retailers. So it is no surprize that others within our industry have called attention to the many shining stars in the Do it Best Corp. galaxy and have singled them out for some very prestigious awards.
Each year, the LBM Journal Entrepreneur of the Year Awards profile three lumber-oriented businesses of varying sizes and sales volume who epitomize the best of today’s entrepreneurial spirit. They search for companies who excel at identifying underserved or emerging markets, satisfying customers, and constantly working to grow and improve their businesses.
This year, Do it Best Corp. members swept all three categories of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Your Building Centers, Holmes Do it Best® Building Materials, and Hipp Modern Builders Supply represent vastly different scales of operations, but they all are committed to finding ever better ways to serve their customers and their communities.
Two other Do it Best Corp. members also took home recognition in the ProSales Excellence Awards. These awards spotlight members who use their creative spirit to explore new ways to excel. Malone Lumber Do it Best® and Hartville Hardware won honors in the Marketing and Facility Design categories, respectively.
Congratulations to these members for embodying our mission of Making the Best Even Better®.
LBM Journal Entrepreneur of the Year
Your Building Centers
Category: Sales over $50 million
If you are looking for a large operation that still embodies the team spirit, you’d be hard pressed to beat Your Building Centers. The 14-store chain has a unique business model: it is entirely employee-owned.
“Our success factor is that our people are not just owners, they are day-to-day participants in running the business and making decisions that help our customers,” says Phil Skarada, president and CEO. “Our philosophy is, ‘We care because we own it.’”
The company focuses squarely on making their customers’ lives easier. They operate a huge special-order program, which accounts for 50% of the volume at some locations. They also go to more unusual lengths to help and please their customers, including providing 24-hour access to the company’s home décor and building products showrooms, which has been a huge hit with their contractors who want to show off their product selection to their customers, especially afterhours. They also offer volume-driven incentive trips to employees and customers to destinations like the Caribbean, Florida, and Mexico.
Holmes Do it Best® Building Materials
Category: Sales of $10-$50 million
Holmes Do it Best®
Building Materials stays ahead of the competition by employing two key strategies: learning existing customers’ needs in order to sell them more products and creating targeted, personal service plans for potential customers.
“There are no unique products that we sell,” says John Holmes
, owner and president. “But we are unique in the people who service our customers and get the product to them. Our team cares deeply about our customers. Our whole business is built on those relationships.”
Holmes adds value to those relationships by offering lightning-fast delivery, no-charge estimates, and a 48-hour turnaround time for credit pickups from jobsites. They nimbly respond to customer suggestions for new items, getting them in stock while the competition is still considering them. The company also recently readied itself for future anticipated growth by remodeling both of its retail locations in 2011 and planning for a dedicated home décor showroom in 2014.
Hipp Modern Builders Supply
Category: Sales under $10 million
“Everybody says customer service is important,” co-owner Gentry Hipp explains. “But it’s another thing entirely to really do it. It takes a big effort on behalf of our team to do it the right way and treat our customers well. And it is absolutely essential to keep our customers coming back.”
Hipp’s not only employs a knowledgeable, personable, and helpful staff, they also look for new ways to get customers in their store. The store battled the recent recession by opening a Do it Best Rental CenterSM, which they quickly turned into a very profitable addition to the business.
The store also brought their friendly, helpful attitude to the internet. Their website, hippshelp.com, not only features an e-commerce area to purchase products, but it also delivers more than 1,400 posts of how-to tips for a range of projects.
ProSales Excellence Awards
Malone Lumber Do it Best®
Marketing (Merit award)
Sometimes it’s difficult to get new customers into your store, especially if they aren’t familiar with your product selection. Since women play a major role in today’s home improvement decisions, assistant manager and home décor manager Angie Strader
decided to draw them into Malone Lumber Do it Best®
by hosting a Ladies’ Night.
Angie set about getting support from vendors and local contractors to demonstrate products. She also partnered with other local businesses that deliver services targeted to women, such as manicures and massages, and promoted the event with newspaper ads, flyers, radio ads, and Facebook. Male employees dressed in black slacks and white shirts parked cars and served refreshments. The event was such a success that there were women waiting outside to get in 30 minutes before the doors opened. The event brought in a lot of female shoppers who had never been in the store before, and plans are already in the works to make this an annual event.
Facility Design (Winner)
It’s not just the size of Hartville Hardware that garners national attention. Granted, its 305,000-square-feet make it the largest independent hardware store in the US. But it’s what Howard and Wayne Miller
did with all that space that makes it special.
The main floor caters to the DIY crowd, with spacious lawn & garden and home décor areas, an 1,800-square-foot Craftsman-style house built almost entirely of American-made products, a huge power tool section, a separate outdoor power section, and much more. The downstairs area has its own entrance for contactors who will find a team of sales reps, cabinets and flooring, and all items geared toward the pros. It is also adjacent to a three-lane drive-through lumberyard.
But the store is just one part of the story. The massive 200-acre property also includes a huge restaurant (Hartville Kitchen) and a sprawling flea market (Hartville Marketplace). Put that all together, and Hartville’s complex creates a strong draw for the area’s 2 million annual visitors.