Hardware Retailing

MAY 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2017 156 starting to slip into retirement mode. They had hit that fine line where they were trying to sell the business but hadn't been reinvesting in it for several years. If interest rates remain low, and if you can get capitalized well enough, I have a strong feeling you will see more mid-size chains growing their presence across the country. HR: Can you discuss the importance of having a succession plan? MW: As part of our family's succession planning process, we have developed a trust. My parents are in their 50s, so they still have quite a few working years left. Because of our future growth plans, we worked with some really smart advisors and put together a trust and a financing plan that made sense for all involved parties. I also have three siblings who don't work in the business, so we had to address that as part of the succession planning as well. You always hate talking about the death of your parents, but it was really important to have a sit-down and address all of these issues to make sure what my parents were planning was fair for everyone and that the business can continue succeeding well past their days. There were definitely some uncomfortable moments between me and my parents during this process, and I recognize that all of the growth we have been doing has been off of their foundational work. So it becomes a reciprocation of respecting their leadership and what they have accomplished. At the same time, they have really entrusted me and have given me a lot of leeway to try to grow this thing. HR: What unique challenges do you think independent retailers will face in the next five or 10 years? MW: Some of the challenges we face involve regulatory uncertainty. We like certainty, so whether the Affordable Care Act continues or the tax rates change or stay the same, it's hard to grow when you don't know what the future holds. My parents and I set up this trust based on the currently regulatory environment. Now there are huge changes taking place, so it throws some of our planning into limbo, and we're asking ourselves, "Should we expand now, or should we expand later?" HR: What is the value in furthering your education and networking with other independent retailers? MW: When I was in school for my MBA and being honored as an NRHA Young Retailer of the Year, every time I met someone who had "been there, done that," I found myself learning some really great best practices and some great tips that we were able to incorporate into our business that have made a big impact. It's really about the people you surround yourself with and the guidance they provide. If I could say anything to anyone who's reading this article regarding future growth, it's this: Get two or three very wise people with lots of business experience to help guide you. You don't want to surround yourself with "yes" people, but rather with people who are going to tell you the truth. I've been fortunate enough to have three business development coaches who have all given me tremendous insight. So far, Woods has been focusing his attention on urban locations and capitalizing on the influx of residents moving to the downtown.

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