Hardware Retailing

FEB 2018

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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O ther than my lovely wife, my three best friends in this world are Vince, Kelly and Heather. Vince was the first friend I made when my family moved from Illinois to California. We were both 11 years old, and after nearly four decades of growing up together, there is hardly a situation we haven't faced by each other's sides. Today, Vince lives in Ireland, so we don't get to see each other anywhere near as much as we once did. Even with this distance, I have no doubt that if I needed to bury a body, Vince would be there for me—and bring the shovel. I met Kelly a few years after Vince. Oddly enough, Kelly is now my brother-in-law and we have shared not just the ups and downs of friendship, but also the joys and sorrows of family life. Without a doubt, Kelly is the guy who would be my phone a friend for a trivia competition. Lastly, there is Heather. She was late to the best friend party; we didn't meet until college. Despite being the "new" one in the group, Heather has transcended friendship to become part of our family. Above all my friends, she keeps me grounded and isn't at all shy about calling BS on anything that comes out of my mouth. Also, because of her unending compassion and love for my family, I know I could always count on Heather to be there should we ever need her. You never really know where you will pick up your best friends as you wind through your life—school, clubs, work. I know that I never would have imagined the collection of compatriots I have somehow been fortunate enough to assemble. In this month's issue, we look at individuals who have forged some strong bonds with other retailers in the industry. These are individuals who, through some set of circumstances, have gotten to know each other and have become industry BFFs (best friends forever, in case you're not as in the know as I am). I hope you enjoy reading their stories because they are both fun and insightful. And one important takeaway that you can find in all the folks we profile in this issue is that they find a deep value in the relationships they have made—both from a personal and business perspective. It's unlikely that many of these friendships would have ever been forged if these individuals didn't push themselves beyond the boundaries of their own stores and their own markets. These friendships developed because these retailers chose to broaden their view of doing business and participate in events and groups outside of their own limited social spheres. The ability to meet with other retailers and develop these kinds of friendships is one of the biggest benefits anyone can gain from actively participating in organizations like NRHA, or regularly attending events like the State of Independents Conference, National Hardware Show ® or wholesaler markets. So, as we start the new year, I'd like to challenge each and every one of you to go outside your comfort zone just a bit and try to strengthen your industry relationships. You never know where these friendships might go. And with more friends in the hardware business, you'll never have a problem finding a shovel (just in case). Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org Let Me Tell You 'Bout My Best Friend(s) Taking Care of Business " It's unlikely that many of these friendships would have ever been forged if these individuals didn't push themselves beyond the boundaries of their own stores and their own markets. " HARDWARE RETAILING | February 2018 10

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