Hardware Retailing

JUN 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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Independent Thinking A s we go to press, we have just returned from the National Hardware Show ® and North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) All-Industry Conference in Las Vegas with a tablet full of notes, a wallet full of new business cards and the memories of a productive show still fresh in our minds. The highlight of the show for me was the Young Retailer of the Year award ceremony, which took place the night before the show started. This year's event was inspirational in so many ways. First, the eight honorees for 2018 represent a strong cross-section of our industry, with all different store types, wholesaler and co-op affiliations, geographic locations and various market types represented on one stage. Each of these young men and women was honored for their career accomplishments, their ongoing education and the dedication to serving their communities. While it is always humbling for me to hear all of their accomplishments and educational pursuits at such an early stage of their careers, what resonates most for me is how they go above and beyond in serving their communities. All of the ways these young retailers lead, support and serve their communities to keep them vibrant and thriving are simply amazing in the context of everything they are doing to grow their businesses. They plan and execute charity events; they sit on the boards of local government and civic organizations; they sponsor countless community groups and teams—the list goes on and on. What I've come to realize by listening to their stories is that community service is embedded in their DNA. It starts by serving customers in the aisles of their stores and then extends into the communities they serve. These Young Retailer of the Year honorees embody the idea of servant leadership, a concept we teach students through the Retail Leadership Institute, in both our Foundations of Leadership program and the Retail Management Certification Program. It goes beyond leading employees. It's about taking responsibility for the people in your community and leading by example. It's what sets independent retailers apart from the competition, and whether you realize it or not, it's your competitive advantage in the marketplace. At NRHA, we understand how difficult it is to find and retain good employees. Like you, we constantly hear all the "noise" about millennials, their work ethic and the employment challenges of this particular generation. But from our vantage point, it's an inaccurate generalization. Along with getting to know our Young Retailer of the Year honorees each year, I'm fortunate to get a firsthand glimpse into the future of our industry with every student who comes through NRHA's Retail Management Certification Program and the students who participate in the Foundations of Leadership program. Some of these students were honored with the Young Retailer of the Year award this year, which made this event even more rewarding for me, as someone who has been a part of their journey. I encourage you to follow the path to excellence that our Young Retailer of the Year honorees have taken. Start by investing in your key people and in their ongoing education. Get them invested in serving not only your customers, but your community. Be a servant leader to their ongoing development. Who knows? Perhaps you have a future Young Retailer of the Year who just needs to be inspired. Scott Wright, Executive Director, Retail Leadership Institute swright@nrha.org " Start by investing in your key people and in their ongoing education. Get them invested in serving not only your customers, but your community. " The Path to Excellence HARDWARE RETAILING | June 2018 8

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