Last week I had the pleasure of attending The Hardware Conference, held in Marco Island, Florida. I was met by over 400 retailers, leaders, and influencers in the retail hardware industry, 90 of those being Epicor Eagle users. It was a conference full of activity from technology training sessions to meetings for True Value, Ace, and Do it Best retailers, the annual meeting for Hardlines Digest participants, as well as an open exhibit area for the latest products in retail hardware.
The pinnacle of the conference this year -- other than celebrating its 25th year serving the hardware community -- was the newly introduced Beacon Awards, a national industry awards program developed by The Hardware Conference and The Hardware Connection, honoring the “best of the best” independent hardware and home improvement retailers in the United States. We were proud to congratulate four Epicor Eagle winners during the awards ceremony held on Friday night during the conference. The Epicor winners of the Retail Beacon Award were Marmac Ace Hardware and Sullivan Hardware and Garden; the winners of the Beacon Awards Best New Store were Hartville Hardware and Lutz Ace Hardware.
Marmac Ace Hardware – Maui, Hawaii
In operation since 1971, Marmac has a 9,000-square-foot store in Kahului. In July 2013, the family opened a second store in Wailuku that encompasses 13,000 square feet. Now with a larger sales floor, the new store offers have expanded their original product offerings as well as increased stock in niche departments like cleaning and pet supplies.
Sullivan Hardware and Garden – Indianapolis, Indiana
Sullivan Hardware & Garden opened in 2012 designed as a destination where customers would come not just for good service, but also for the best selection of products. In his free time, owner Pat Sullivan is busy co-hosting a local Saturday morning radio show with co-host, Dick Crum, answering caller’s home and garden questions.
Hartville Hardware – Hartville, Ohio
In April 2012, brothers Howard and Wayne Miller opened the largest independent hardware store in the country. The 305,000-square-foot home center spans two levels, over seven acres, and also features a 1,850-square-foot idea house located inside.
Lutz Ace Hardware – Lutz, Florida
Brothers Scott and Todd Andrews decided to diversify their pool supply business by opening an Ace Hardware store in January 2012. Lutz Ace Hardware features 11,900 square feet of retail selling space, which also includes a very successful gift shop business.
From left to right: Scott and Tina Andrews (Lutz Ace Hardware), Jim Holden (Epicor), Pat and Beth Sullivan (Sullivan Hardware and Garden), and Howard and Marsha Miller (Hartville Hardware).
While there was a lot of activity around new products to feature in hardware stores, another key highlight of the conference was the Technology Forum. Epicor Eagle users were provided with a full day of hands on training covering educational topics such as inventory management, new Eagle features, and mobility for your business, among others.
Thank you to all the hardware retailers, sponsors, and leaders who attended this conference. We look forward to another 25 years of service from The Hardware Conference.
Posted by Bob Aronson, Vice President Sales, Epicor Retail Distribution Solutions