Hardware Retailing

APR 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 | April 2018 48 Daniel Gorn interviewed at Hassett Hardware in 2015 for what he considers his "first real full-time job." He was 19 years old, taking college classes, playing jazz music as a side gig and living in Half Moon Bay, California. He simply needed a reliable job. Gorn interviewed for a sales associate position at Hassett Hardware's Half Moon Bay store, never dreaming he would love its company culture or that he would quickly grow into a company leader. "Daniel really embodies all of our core values," says Eric Hassett, who co-owns the six Hassett Hardware stores in California. "He's very customer-focused, friendly and inquisitive. He recognizes that the only reason we're here is to serve customers." Shortly after he started, Gorn took on more responsibility in the business. He began overseeing a section of the store, later was tasked with maintaining the Half Moon Bay store's hardware department and fasteners selection. The company offers a program called Future Leaders, which Hassett says is an opportunity for promising associates to learn more about the business and learn "the language of being a supervisor." Hassett thought Gorn would be a perfect fit for the program, and it served to prepare him for a bigger opportunity. Bridging the Gap Gorn has grown as a leader through his ability to ask questions and challenge his team members to improve in a positive manner, Hassett says. In 2017, Gorn moved into an assistant manager position when Hassett Hardware bought an existing store in Belmont, California. He worked alongside the Hassett family while converting the store into a Hassett Hardware location, and now oversees many of the day-to-day operational responsibilities. The 50-year-old store needed to be revamped, and retirement-age employees needed to get on board with a new company culture. Gorn stood out as the man to bring positive change, Hassett says. He believes the changes that Gorn has led since July are evident. "The challenge was not small," Hassett says. "The bulk of the store's employees have been there a very long time, and they're not young. Daniel has gotten them energized. He's done a really great job with that, while at the same time, he is always supporting newer, younger and incoming staff members. He bridges the gap between generations." For Gorn, developing his leadership skills with Hassett Hardware has been a pleasant surprise ever since he began working at the store. From even his first days on the job, he has seen how the team culture shapes the way Hassett Hardware does business and why it works well. "I really feel on board with where the company is going, and it motivates me to support everyone I'm working with," Gorn says. "I have this built-in motivation now to make the store the best it can be and encourage the team to help each other as much as possible." One way Gorn has been able to instill a sense of collaboration and support in his new role has been to maintain regular huddles, or check-ins, with the team at the start of the day. He uses these huddles to give the entire staff a chance to strategize for the day ahead and consider how to best meet customers' needs while operating efficiently as a team. The check-ins remind staff of the values Hassett Hardware holds dear. "When it comes to coaching employees, it's important to tie it back to specific core values," Gorn says. "The core values and the culture are touched on by everything we do. It's something that's lived in and active." Practicing Core Values Daniel Gorn Assistant Manager Hassett Hardware " He is always supporting newer, younger and incoming staff members. He bridges the gap between generations. " —Eric Hassett, Hassett Hardware

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