True Value retailers from around the world gathered in Houston to check out the latest products, network, attend educational sessions and focus on ways to build momentum in their businesses at the True Value Spring and Rental Reunion.
General Session Focuses on Improvements
The co-op’s reunion, which ran Feb. 19-21, was centered on the theme of momentum for members and their businesses. At the general session, president and CEO John Hartmann spoke about the many ways the co-op uses momentum to push forward with its strategic plan.
“The momentum continues building because we’re doing the right things,” Hartmann says. “We’re making well-thought-out investments to support your growth and profitability. There is, of course, a short-term cost that will result in sustainable, long-term gains. Let me be clear, our current results are the direct outcome of these thoughtful investments.”
Members of the True Value executive team highlighted retailers, shared program updates and more. Tim Mills, senior vice president of growth, also shared some updates from 2015. For example, the co-op saw 66 new stores, 59 remodels and signed 63 store conversions, he says. So far in 2016, the co-op has 40 new stores and 59 remodels and had 137 conversion prospects in attendance at the reunion, he says.
“I’m here to tell you that our industry is moving forward, our co-op is moving forward even faster and we’re not going to settle for second best,” Mills says. “Our momentum means we can reach for the sky and touch the stars. We have the tools, we have the know-how, we have the resources, we have the momentum.”
Attendees Attend Reunion for Work and Play
For Gerrod and Nichole Brasseux, owners of Brasseux’s Hardware in Abbeville, Louisiana, attending the reunion was an introduction to the industry and the True Value co-op.
“We just bought our store and this is our first reunion,” Nichole Brasseux says. “Six weeks ago we took over a store that’s been in existence since 1945. We’re going to do a (Destination True Value) remodel and we came to the reunion to soak it all up and meet people.”
“Everybody, not just the people in corporate, but even the owners themselves, have taken us under their wing,” Nichole Brasseux says.
After the general session, they felt excited and confident in where the co-op is going.
“The general session got us pumped up and excited about the True Value brand,” Nichole Brasseux says. “They talked about the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s good to see, because sometimes companies don’t want to share that.”
For Angie Gallant and Libbie Thompson of Hamilton Marine Inc., a five-store chain in Maine with a focus on marine products, the reunion was a great chance to find products.
“I’m a product line manager and we have several buyers at the store,” Gallant says. “We do a lot with electrical here. We’ve found a lot of new flashlights and gadgets. We enjoy coming to see new things and you get some pretty good deals. The crossover with hardware and marine is a lot more than you’d think.”
Even international retailers came to the reunion for buying opportunities and to have a little fun. Anne Lindo of Gorham True Value Home Center in Bermuda enjoyed the general session and the concert afterward.
“The general session was very good, very motivational,” Lindo says. “And we went to the concert after and it was so much fun. We’re very close with True Value International and we’ll be attending the international party as well.”
In addition to networking and enjoying time with other retailers, the reunion is a great opportunity to search for products to bring back to Bermuda, according to Lindo.
“Our customers see us as a Bermuda-version of Walmart,” Lindo says. “The only thing we don’t do is food. At the reunion, we’re looking around to see what’s new.”
For John Morgin of Roselawn True Value in Roselawn, Indiana, the reunion provides retailers great opportunities if they stick to the plan that is laid out for them.
“From the general session, you can see the plan coming together,” Morgin says. “It’s not a short-term plan. It continues to be added on and perfected. The continuation of education has been a big difference, all of the line sets are great and our freight cost is going down.”