For 22 years, the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) has highlighted the achievements of independent home improvement retailers 35 years old and younger through its Young Retailer of the Year program.
Prior to the NRHA All-Industry Conference at the National Hardware Show®, which opens Tuesday, the association celebrated the eight honorees in a ceremony on Monday night. The Young Retailer of the Year program honors retailers in three categories: sales above $2 million; sales under $2 million; and multistore operations.
“This evening is one of my favorites of the year,” NRHA president and CEO Bob Cutter says. “In spite of today’s public opinion, the independent home improvement retail channel is strong and vibrant and poised for a bright future.”
Scott Wright, executive director of NRHA’s Retail Leadership Institute, which helps coordinate the program, also celebrated the achievements of this year’s honorees.
“These men and women represent the next generation of entrepreneurs who will point the way forward for our industry,” Wright says.
The retailers took the stage in Las Vegas to share their stories about how they became involved in the industry and to thank their supporters.
This year’s Young Retailer of the Year honorees are:
Under $2 Million in Annual Sales
Ronna Kilts—manager, Mattson’s True Value Hardware in Howard City, Michigan
“There isn’t one thing I wouldn’t do for my store and my staff. This award isn’t just mine. It’s all of theirs, too.”
Megan Zarbano—owner, Handy Hardware & Rental in Valley City, North Dakota
“There was no hesitation to what I wanted to pursue. I knew hardware. It was what I wanted to do.”
Over $2 Million in Annual Sales
Sean Angelo—general manager, Budget Home Supply in Longmont, Colorado
“It is rewarding and humbling to receive this award. It would not have been possible without our team back home and the support of our community.”
Taylor Baker—owner, Foothills Hardware & Builders Supply in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
“Our success has been secret. It’s about differentiating our business through exceptional customer service.”
Mike Wilson—general manager/dealer owner, Wilson’s Home Hardware Building Centre in Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia
“Customers are the lifeline of any business, but if you want your customers to love your business, your staff must love it.”
Byron Clouse—owner, Lewiston Ace Hardware in Lewiston, Michigan
“I’m living my dream. I have four stores, and I want six more, 10 more.”
Nate Ludwig—general manager, Dazey’s Building Center in Garberville, California
“Thanks to NRHA for being the visionary that keeps us excited and focused with what we do. Thank you for having this vision and having us here tonight.”
Diana Newton—vice president, Bay Hardware in Seal Beach, California
“I really hope to see more young people come into this industry. It attracts and it cultivates a lot of talent.”