State-by-state Hardware Store All-stars: Okla., Ore. and Pa.

The Home Channel News editorial project travels to Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania to report on hardware store high performers.

• Oklahoma
Pick a state in the south central United States, anywhere between California and Alabama, and Sutherlands is there. The company has a regional office in Jenks, Okla., and five stores throughout the state. The 94-year-old, family owned firm operates 56 locations in 13 states, and they range from small lumberyards to 140,000-sq.-ft. warehouse stores. Its 2010 split between DIY and contractor business is 70% to 30%, according to Chain Store Guide, a directory of home center operators and hardware stores. Sutherlands latest plans are to put a store in a former 90,000-sq.-ft. Walmart outside its headquarter city of Kansas City, Mo.

• Oregon
Jerry’s Home Improvement Center
In Eugene, Ore., Jerry’s is the kind of store that attracts tour groups — of other retailers. Not your father’s hardware store, Jerry’s won’t fit on most Main Streets — its original store in Eugene measures 360,000 sq. ft., including a drive-through lumberyard. But what Jerry’s is also famous for, among independents, is building its second, 135,000-sq.-ft. location in Springfield, Ore., at the same time Home Depot was pulling permits for one of its own big boxes, less than a mile away. The Home Depot never opened. 

• Pennsylvania
Roaring Spring True Value
Connecting with customers has helped make Roaring Spring a big-time success. Case in point: When it announced the hiring of sales associate Sally Rhodes on Facebook, exactly one minute later, a customer/fan responded: “I love Sally Rhodes!! She’s the best.” It is that kind of love that makes this “department store” something special. Doug Mapes, another customer, wrote: “What can I say that hasn’t already been said. There is no store that I know of that offers a more friendly atmosphere than here. I wish you could can that charm.”

HCN Thursday will profile all-star hardware stores in Rhode Island, South Carolina and South Dakota. For the full article from the May issue of Home Channel News, register or log in here.

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