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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HARDWARE RETAILING | February 2018 76 Celebrate Your Differences C ody Goeppner and Russ Ward didn't realize how much they had in common when they met as classmates in the Spring 2017 session of NRHA's Retail Management Certification Program, an advanced retail management and leadership development program. Cody's family had owned and operated Muller True Value Hardware in Ferdinand, Indiana, for 175 years, but he was fairly new to his managerial position in the company. Russ, vice president of retail operations for Bleyhl Co-Op in Grandview, Washington, enrolled in the NRHA program to get a better understanding of the hardware industry and its unique culture, business styles and products. Even though he had 25 years of management experience, he was new to hardware. Cody says Russ's eagerness to learn was refreshing. "My first impression was that he was the old guy in the class and I was the baby," Cody says. "You wouldn't think we would click from an age standpoint, but he was very fun and open to learning, and I was interested in what he had to share." Russ noticed the age difference between himself and the other students, but he says because everyone was there for the same reasons, his experience proved valuable. "Every person in that class taught me something," Russ says. "Cody and I hit it off from day one. He and all of the other students accepted me right away." Russ says Cody is a bit more outgoing than he is, but they have a lot in common, which helped build a strong friendship. "We both love to laugh and have a sense of humor in our jobs and lives," Russ says. "We both take that humor to work with us, having fun in life and work. I'm not as creative as he is, but we both love learning. With our shared passion for business and finding success, we became fast friends." Cody Goeppner and Russ Ward met and became friends while participating in the Spring 2017 Retail Management Certification Program. Above, program graduates, including Goeppner and Ward, celebrate completing the program. Russ Ward Vice President of Retail Operations Bleyhl Co-Op Cody Goeppner Manager Muller True Value Hardware

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