Hardware Retailing

MAY 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 | May 2018 142 While it took several years to make his dream a reality, TreeHouse has been growing its roots in Texas, now with three locations in the state. Ballard returned from Boulder because he says he believed his home state would benefit from his business. In this article, Ballard, the co-founder and CEO of TreeHouse, shares his story, the vision of his company and explains why he believes the home improvement industry should be making energy efficiency and green practices the new normal. To learn even more about Ballard and how to bring sustainability to the forefront, attend his keynote presentation, "How TreeHouse Grew Its Roots and Where It's Headed," at the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference, at 10 a.m. May 9. For more information, visit nrhaconference.com. Standardizing Sustainability Having a vision and actually working to see it through can be difficult. When Ballard and his wife came up with the idea for TreeHouse in 2006, it was just the beginning. Ballard continued to work in sustainable building and forestry, but he spent all of his free time meeting with industry experts and investors, pitching the TreeHouse business plan to anyone who would listen. "From 2007 to 2011, we were in the midst of the Great Recession," Ballard says. "It was tough to create a business model and find investors for a new company, especially home improvement." After he had enough investors join his cause to invest in TreeHouse, Ballard was finally able to open the first store in Austin in 2011. Once TreeHouse opened for business, it was time to attract the right customers. Rather than modeling TreeHouse after big-box retailers like Lowe's or Home Depot, which serve DIYers, Ballard says his team wanted to serve the "do-it-for-me" market, and advance the company mission of creating healthy homes. Simply selling products was not enough for Ballard. He believed that to move the needle toward a healthier environment, TreeHouse employees should be able to help customers take bigger steps in their home improvement projects. "It was an unoccupied space in the market, and we decided we needed to be the world's best project delivery company with an amazing initial presentation," Ballard says. "Our retail stores are the place where we help you start your journey. Maybe it's just a lightbulb today, but you're going to hear and learn things that inspire and excite you about your home, and you know where you have a partner to take those steps with when you're ready." Jason Ballard, CEO and co-founder of TreeHouse, developed the Texas home improvement business to help consumers create the most eco-friendly spaces they can without sacrificing design.

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