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Hardware Store All-Stars: Wisconsin and Michigan

HCN congratulates the 50 hardware store, home center and farm-and-ranch retailers who made the annual HCN Hardware Store All-Star list.

Now in its third year, HCN's annual list of high performers recognizes hardware stores -- one from each state -- that are outstanding in their field. The complete list and analysis can be found in the September issue of HCN.For the full state-by-state list of HCN Hardware Store All-Stars, click here.

Meanwhile, HCN Daily has been working its way across the country with mini profiles, continuing (and concluding) this week with Wisconsin and Michigan.

Wisconsin: Watson Ace Hardware is a Lake Mills mainstay and a dream come true, quite literally, for owner Brian Watson. A few years ago, Watson entered the Dream Ace competition; to his great disappointment, he lost, but decided to open a store anyway after 30+ years as a CPA. Watson’s outstanding leadership qualities have seen to it that every employee hired before his business opened in 2009 is still working at the store. A habit of sharing performance metrics with the team, mentoring new retailers, donating to community causes and going to all ends for his customers has earned him the title of Retail Group Leader for the Madison Ace Dealer, as well as consistent growth year-over-year.

Michigan: Though ACO Hardware made the decision to close 14 under-performing stores in May, the Michigan home improvement chain store has displayed an ability to adapt and survive in a challenging Detroit market. To say the least, it has enough clout to raise $308,000 over the past two years for various statewide charities. With all said and done, it's still, at 52 locations strong, the state's largest independent hardware retailer. 


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