Hardware Retailing

NOV 2017

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

Issue link: http://hardwareretailing.epubxp.com/i/889894

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Page 14 of 78

Independent Thinking S ince I only have one more column to write before I retire at the end of this year, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the early years of our association. Maybe it's just what old guys do, but sometimes looking back helps put today in a little better perspective. Here at your association headquarters in Indianapolis, we are very fortunate to have a historic treasure. On the shelves of our conference room, we have a collection of almost every magazine published by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), going all the way back to 1906. Someone in the very early days of the association decided that every issue from each year should be bound together in a leather volume. This foresight has managed to keep this history of our hardware industry intact through many years and numerous moves. We still keep binding the issues together to continue preserving our hardware heritage for future generations. If you're ever in Indianapolis, stop by and take a look. These old magazines provide a snapshot of what was going on in our stores and in our country for over a century. I decided to take a look back 100 years, so I pulled out the volume from 1917. The National Retail Hardware Association was founded as an affiliation of state hardware associations in 1900, and a century ago, there were 29 state hardware associations that had joined the affiliation. As I looked through the National Hardware Bulletin (what the magazine was called then) from 1917, the vitality of our hardware industry shone through. Each state had a large annual convention, often with 500 to over 1,000 attendees. Like all meetings of hardware retailers today, the conversation was about how to operate more efficiently, how to attract more customers and how to understand pricing, merchandising and inventory control procedures. And, just like today, there was a true fraternity among owners. By 1917, your national association was a vibrant and active player in the hardware industry and was actively engaged in market research. In fact, the annual Cost of Doing Business Study was first issued that year. In addition, NRHA was providing detailed monthly pricing studies through its Price and Service Bureau to help retailers understand the costs of various basic goods. A hardware retailer named E.R. Showers spoke during the 1917 West Virginia Hardware Convention in Wheeling, West Virginia. "The average hardware dealer does not realize the great work which is being done by the National Retail Hardware Association for the benefit of the trade. At Argos, Indiana [the first headquarters location of NRHA], we have a great plant in which we are all interested, because it belongs to us and is working for our advantage. The men who are in charge of that work are keenly alive to the needs of the retail merchant and are doing everything possible to assist them in solving our problems and becoming more efficient merchants." Hopefully, 100 years later, we can still say the same about NRHA. Serving the hardware retailer is a proud and humbling endeavor, and we plan to uphold these great traditions for a long time to come. When it comes to our hardware industry and the aspirations of the generations of risk-takers who operate across our country, the saying is true, "The more things change, the more they remain the same." Bill Lee, President and CEO blee@nrha.org " Serving the hardware retailer is a proud and humbling endeavor, and we plan to uphold these great traditions for a long time to come. " The More Things Change … HARDWARE RETAILING | November 2017 10

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