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 198 A fter weeks of planning and coordinating with Independent We Stand, the Great American River Road Trip was here. On Sunday, March 11, I flew from Indianapolis to Minneapolis-St. Paul, ready for our adventure. We stayed at Hotel 340 in St. Paul, Minnesota, an independent hotel located inside a historic building, which dates back to 1917. I think it's remarkable that someone found a way to save this timeless building from being leveled and gave it purpose again. That night, I met up with Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand; Katherine Seibt, communications manager for the organization; and videographer Scott Sonnenberg for dinner and planning before Day 1 kicked off. Our first stop Monday morning was at Jerry's Do it Best Hardware & Rental, located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, in a building connected to an independent grocery store. As I chatted with employees, they told me the history of the business. In 1947, Jerry Paulsen was the neighborhood butcher in Edina, Minnesota. When the grocery store he worked in was put up for sale, Paulsen decided to buy it, eventually naming it Jerry's Foods. Over the years, his businesses continued to thrive, and he added hardware to create several one-stop shop destinations. Paulsen died in 2013, but his legacy remains. His company, Jerry's Enterprises, operates four grocery stores named Jerry's Foods, has several franchised grocery stores, including Cub Foods, County Market and Save-A-Lot; five hardware stores, bakeries, print shops and more. Day 1 While in Minnesota, we visited Hirshfield's, a family-owned paint and wallcovering business that's been in operation for over 125 years. We met CEO Hans Hirshfield (left), and his daughter, Samantha Hirshfield, who is learning the ins and outs of the business. Travel Itinerary Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, to La Crosse, Wisconsin Miles Traveled: 150 Hotel: The Charmant Independents Visited • Jerry's Do it Best Hardware & Rental • Hirshfield's • Fair State Brewing Cooperative • Aki's BreadHaus Food and Fun • 12welve Eyes Brewing • The Bulldog • Holy Land Bakery and Deli Fun Fact: The Mississippi River stretches from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. While many cities lie along the river, St. Paul boasts more shoreline than any other city.

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