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2016 Young Retailer of the Year: Jared Sawyer

JaredOver $2 Million in Sales
Sawyer’s True Value, The Dalles, Oregon

When Jared Sawyer decided to come back to work full time at Sawyer True Value at the end of 2004, he didn’t take long to show he had the business acumen to follow his parents as the fourth generation owner of the family business. Growing up in the store had given him a solid understanding of the day-to-day operations of the business. But as he started learning more about managing, Jared began to bring his own ideas for how the business could become more efficient. He’s now made improvements to nearly every area of the business.

One of his first major projects came in 2006, when he helped lead the store through a major remodel. The project included adding on 5,000 square feet to one side of the building. The building received a face-lift on both the interior and exterior. Inside the store, Jared cleared out old merchandise, brought in new categories, moved around fixtures and made the store easier to shop.

In the store’s rental area, Jared invested in new equipment and created new systems to help him better manage the department. As part of the change, he started renting party items, such as tents, tables and bounce houses. In 2005, residents of The Dalles got a new place to buy coffee when Jared built a coffee drive-thru shop in the store’s parking lot. The coffee shop, named Grinders, has already exceeded sales expectations.

In 2011 Sawyer’s underwent another complete remerchandising of the store tearing out a ceiling, moving a wall back and adding over 1,000 new products. Manager stations were also added throughout the store and the computer system was replaced with new technology.

Elsewhere in the business, Jared continued to find ways to add more products and services for his customers. He has made the lawn and garden department unique by bringing in supplies for beekeeping, hydroponics, decorative garden ponds and fish. He has experts on staff who give customers the confidence that they have all the answers to their product questions. Jared also expanded his fasteners selection, making it a destination for customers looking for hard-to-find nuts and bolts.

In addition to changing the physical appearance of the store, Jared improved process and programs in areas like inventory and employee management. He is continually looking for a better way to do business.

“My goal is efficiency,” he says. “How can we fine-tune what we do and what systems can we put in place to be better? I’m also always looking for ways to grow the business. What could we be doing that we’re not doing?”

Jared has also made a notable difference in the local business community. He was the chairman of the local chamber of commerce in 2013 and helped start the chamber’s Young Professionals group. Jared is currently part the chamber’s Economic Development Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Small Business Development Center at the College.

Jared has young children who are currently in grade school, so he spends time volunteering at the local public school system. In addition to tutoring in the second and fourth grades, he has been working with a community task force that has been reviewing facilities options for the school district and presenting them to the school board.

“This award belongs to our whole team and is a reflection of everyone’s effort. I feel truly honored and blessed to work alongside such a great group of people,” says Sawyer.

Watch Jared’s video here.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton
Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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