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2016 Young Retailer of the Year: Richard Lukowiak

Richard LukowiakOver $2 Million in Sales
Johns Creek Ace Hardware, Johns Creek, Georgia
General Manager

Richard Lukowiak started working for his father at the family business during college. After leaving the business for a few years to pursue a career at Macy’s, he returned to Johns Creek Ace Hardware in 2012. He immediately put his new strategy, “One Message, One Plan,” into place, which included staffing adjustments, new planograms and an entire store reset and redesign.

As a result, sales immediately started to rise. However, soon after Lukowiak learned that his landlord had terminated the company’s lease with only 90 days notice going into the 2012 holiday season. He wasted no time finding a new, 10,000-square-foot space for Johns Creek Ace Hardware to call home.

Lukowiak was involved in all aspects of the move and re-opening, from working with Ace Hardware on the new store layout, to other details, such as building registers, cleaning and painting. The store was closed for only three days during the move, and Lukowiak opened the new Johns Creek Ace Hardware location during January 2013. That week, the company saw a record Saturday while selling out of moving bins.

Since 2012, Lukowiak’s efforts have resulted in an 87-percent increase in sales, and he doesn’t plan to stop there.

“My goal is to continue growing business revenue and I’ll keep working and reinventing the store until everything meets my expectations,” says Lukowiak.

While he’s eager to keep growing business, Lukowiak has already driven store performance and efficiency dramatically. He implemented an inventory management system to ensure stock levels are consistent and correct. He also added new product lines in the tool, paint, grill, apparel and outdoor departments. Lukowiak also performed resets in every department in 2015, most notably the electrical, plumbing and lawn and garden departments.

Being charitable and giving back to the community is also important to Lukowiak and the rest of the staff at Johns Creek Ace Hardware. Under his direction, Johns Creek Ace Hardware donates thousands of dollars and products to community organizations each year, including schools, veteran organizations, the police department and many others.

Lukowiak also makes it a point to employ high school students in an after-school work program, offering young adults an opportunity to develop job skills and serving as a mentor and career advisor for participating young adults.


Watch Richard’s video here.

About Hilary Welter

As marketing and research coordinator, it’s Hilary’s duty to keep retailers informed about NRHA products and services and to help coordinate industry research projects. Additionally, Hilary is the voice behind NRHA’s and Hardware Retailing’s social media accounts. She appreciates a good book, spicy food, well-made horror films, craft beer and exploring new places near and far.

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