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NHPA’s Premier Management Program Offers Industrywide Application

Developed for owners and managers in the home improvement industry, the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s Retailer Management Certification Program focuses on helping students learn skills to grow store sales and profits in today’s changing retail landscape. As NHPA’s premier management program has grown, the Retail Management Certification Program has also evolved to meet the changing needs of the channel and has even seen student become instructor thanks to the value gained from attending the course.

Being able to say he had a hand in creating a premier industry education program is not something Josiah Gates takes lightly. Over a decade ago, then Aubuchon Company president Marcus Moran Jr. asked Gates, then director of retail operations, to help develop the curriculum for RMCP and assess it from a student’s perspective.

“Marcus said to me, ‘Josiah, we need to embrace this program. You could probably teach it, but I’d like you to be a student,’” Gates says. “Then after that first year, Scott Wright asked me if I would be willing to come back to help with the class. I like to think of it as giving back to the industry that’s done so much for me. I give Marcus Moran Jr., Bill Aubuchon and NHPA credit because without this opportunity I wouldn’t be where I am with the relationships I have in this industry.”

Gates is now an instructor of financial management and budgeting for the program, and he says he’s grateful to be able to give back to the industry.

“Becoming an instructor gave me the opportunity to share some of our best practices and our processes to help others in their business and ensure the sustainability of the program for future leaders in the industry,” he says.

Instructor’s Approach

“One of my main priorities is to make it real. When you can put real-life hardware practices in front of these students, whether it be on sales, budgets or explaining capital expenses, it’s very important to translate everything into tangibles for the students so they can understand and apply it to their stores.”

Industrywide Benefits

“When I’m presenting, I’m talking about a group of stores, but I also break it down individually. I always tell students that just because Aubuchon has over 100 stores, that doesn’t prevent you from doing something in one store. I always ask how many students in the class—whether for one store or multiple stores—have a strategic plan, and many people don’t because they’re operating in the business, not on the business. My mindset as an instructor is being able to show everyone how they can apply this philosophy to a single-store model or a multistore model.”

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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