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Fall Reunion 2023

True Value Celebrates 75 Years, Makes Pledge to Retailers During 2023 Fall Reunion

True Value celebrated its 75th anniversary and welcomed retailers to Houston with a resounding message to kick off the company’s 2023 Fall Reunion: “We are here for you!”

With thousands of retailers in attendance, True Value CEO Chris Kempa told those assembled during the general session that the distributor is more focused than ever on earning their business and supporting their growth. Kempa also shared specifics on how the company is focused on helping retailers improve their operations, buy better and drive profits and growth.

During the general session, Kempa welcomed a special guest to the stage—Kim Peffley, director of organizational development and consulting for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. Together Kempa and Peffley shared important tips with attendees on how today’s retailers can be successful, including buying smart, pricing products right and helping their customers solve problems.  

One of these ways was on full display at the Reunion, where True Value showcased a variety of new, optimized assortments. These assortments were hand designed by True Value’s merchandising team to capitalize on market trends and provide retailers with the flexibility to meet the unique needs of their individual markets.

For long-time True Value customers like the team from K&K True Value in Bettendorf, Iowa, the Reunion showcased all the reasons they continue to partner with the distributor.

“At this show, we are excited to celebrate 75 years for True Value; for 73 of those years, our company has been a part of the brand,” says K&K True Value’s Kortney Gaura. “For us, the Reunion is about learning how we can use the programs and products offered to us through True Value to strengthen our store.”

Gaura says she was interested in checking out a variety of areas on the show floor like Closeout Corner to seek out special buys for promotional items along with other areas such as the new product showcase. 

Products and promotions were a major focus during the Reunion where True Value was putting optimized assortments front and center for retailers to browse. 

Just some of the new assortments on display included a new selection of farm and ranch products, as well as 11 new impulse categories. Jake Kalnitz, True Value senior vice president of merchandising, shared with retailers how these assortments are delivering results, sharing how the GE Lighting Certified True Blue assortment rolled out last year delivered an additional 4.8% growth in the category for retailers implementing the set.

Kalnitz also highlighted True Value’s new price optimization program that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to make sure that retailers are priced right, getting the most out of their margin opportunities and driving more profits to the bottom line.

An Energizing Celebration 

In addition to the updated assortments showcased at the Reunion, True Value also cast a spotlight on the brand’s 75th anniversary. Not only did the company bring in rock legend John Mellencamp for a private concert to celebrate the event, they also gave attendees a sneak preview of the company’s new marketing push.

“We want to energize the brand that has helped us grow,” says Kelly Megel, True Value senior vice president of marketing. “What’s so exciting about this particular Reunion is that it is not only a milestone for the brand and the company but a celebration of decades of hard work from True Value associates and retailers to build on this powerful brand. It is about us reaffirming our commitment to our retailers and celebrating their commitment to their local communities.”

That focus on helping retailers support their local communities came through loud and clear in the marketing preview shared during the Reunion. Images of DIYers and contractors turning to their local True Value retailers for help were central to the marketing theme that will be pushed out to consumers through a variety of means, Megel says. This includes a new tagline – “Here For You” – and a targeted campaign coming in early 2024.

“We will take advantage of all the tools at our disposal to get this messaging out and support the brand,” she says. “The bottom line is we need to be finding the people we can help and getting messaging to them wherever they are engaging, be it social media, streaming services or online.”

Another central theme was that sentiment, “We are here for you,” which Megel says has multiple meanings. 

“It’s a commitment that our retailers make to their customers and their communities,” she says. “It’s really at the heart of what makes the shopping experience with our retailers different. Whatever questions someone might have or help they need, our retailers are there for them. But it also is a message from us to our retail customers. We are here to support you and support your growth.” 

For more of the conversation about True Value’s approach to promoting the brand and helping retailers drive growth, make sure to check out Hardware Retailing’s in-depth interview in next week’s e-newsletter. 

As True Value’s Fall Reunion celebrates a major milestone for the brand, Megel and the rest of the True Value team are already looking ahead at what’s next. 

“We are always focused on the ways we can support our retailers and help them grow so we can’t stop looking for the next program or service that can help them,” Megel says.

In 2024, True Value plans to host its Spring Reunion in New Orleans and invites retailers to the Big Easy to see the next wave of new products and programs.

About Dan Tratensek

In his position as publisher of Hardware Retailing magazine, Dan has the opportunity to visit with independent retailers of all types and sizes and use these visits to shape the editorial direction of the magazine to meet the needs of the independent hardware retail market. Dan also oversees NRHA’s other publishing projects, which include a range of special interest publications, contract publishing titles, online content and more. Dan formerly worked as an editor and reporter for Hardware Retailing and has been involved in business journalism and news reporting for the past two decades

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