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2024 Spring Reunion

True Value Strengthens Commitment to Retailers, Customers at 2024 Spring Reunion

Deepening its commitment to partner with its retailers so they can find success in their local markets, True Value announced the launch of a new marketing initiative and investments in order and warehouse management at the 2024 Spring Reunion. 

Over three days in New Orleans, Louisiana, True Value retailers gathered at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for new product discovery, access to hot deals and networking and social opportunities. 

“It’s great to have everyone together and reinforce what True Value means to us and to our customers,” says True Value CEO Chris Kempa. “I love finding new ways to connect with our retailers and our vendors. Each Reunion is an opportunity to learn from each other and keep growing our partnership together.” 

During the general session, Kempa unveiled plans for the new Brand Plus marketing program and further investments in core operating systems, including replacing the company’s order management and warehouse management systems. 

“The highlight of this Reunion was showcasing the continued investment in our business,” Kempa says. “We knew we needed to put more support behind the True Value brand, which is why it’s been a major investment for us. As we’ve spent the past year deeply learning and understanding what the brand needs to do to grow our retailers’ business, it’s incredible to see this come to life. We’ve had a great response so far.”

The focus of the new marketing and branding is gaining market share in local communities and driving footsteps into the stores, says Jake Kalnitz, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing. True Value is also helping retailers take advantage of trends in the home improvement industry with new product categories and merchandising strategies. 

“Our scaled solutions for marketing celebrate what makes our retailers special in their communities,” Kalnitz says. “The new Brand Plus program and our Hardware Hero campaign will allow them to stand out from the competition while reinforcing their core values.”

Cassandra Dye, senior vice president of sales and service for True Value, says the company is focusing on three Es: easy, exact and exceptional. 

“Our retailers want a true partnership, and we’re building that by making sure every interaction with True Value is easy, exact and exceptional,” Dye says. “We want to unlock your independent spirit as we work together on your business.” 

Another highlight of Reunion was Kempa’s announcement of True Value’s exploration of store acquisition to support business transition and succession planning for our retailers who want to stay in the True Value family.

“True Value is a legacy brand that is synonymous with the local hardware store, and our new branding and its tie to strategic product promotion, will remind customers that their local True Value is here for them,” Kempa says. “I am more excited than ever to strengthen our partnership with our retailers to accelerate their growth and help them take advantage of opportunities in a challenging environment. My team and I are here to serve these independent hardware stores, and the investments that we’re making are intended to help them grow, so of course I can’t wait to see that happen.”

Partnerships Take Center Stage

Retailers attending Reunion were also excited to embrace their partnerships with True Value and fellow retailers. Larry McNear, owner of McNear Cabinets and Hardware in Powhatan Point and Shadyside, Ohio, says he was excited to be at Reunion again after missing the last two events. 

“It was great to get back and see what was new for products and vendors, as well as what was going on in the company and how it’s helping us,” McNear says. “My daughter, Chrystal, attended this Reunion with me, so we had a lot of fun together.” 

Joshua Swingle from Lake Ariel Agway in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania, was attending his first Reunion after opening a new store in May. 

“I really wanted to get my bearings, take in the show floor and see what’s new and what’s hot,” Swingle says. “It was nice to get to know the company better and meet fellow retailers.” 

As he works to shift his audience focus, Adam Novick, owner of Alper’s True Value Hardware in Port Washington, New York, appreciated the new partnerships True Value established with various vendors. 

“When the big-box stores came into our area, I shifted our focus to DIY and retail but with Amazon and online retailers, I want to anchor my operation with contractors and professional construction customers,” Novick says. “I was able to learn more about True Value’s partnership with Legrand US and its best-in-class wiring assortment.” 

True Value Reunion also offered opportunities to partner with industry experts for educational sessions as part of True Value University. Kyle Riddle, store manager of Redbud True Value in Lubbock, Texas, took part in the session “Getting Your Store Ready for Spring.” 

“I was looking for help with getting ready for our spring season and ideas on how to refresh our assortments with what’s new,” Riddle says. “The session shared helpful information, and I came away with new ideas to try in the store.” 

Overall, Kempa says 2024 Spring Reunion was a success. 

“The bottom line is that True Value is here for you,” he says. “I said it in the General Session—we’re here to bring your vision for your store to life. Everyone runs their business a little bit differently to truly serve their market and we fully support and celebrate that. That has always been the goal, and I think it was crystal clear at this Reunion.” 

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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