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NRHA Introduces the 2019 Top Guns

Each year, the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) names high-performing retailers as Top Guns. These retailers represent those who are innovating in their communities and pushing other members of the channel to continue differentiating and elevating the independent home improvement industry.

This year, NRHA has honored three retailers with the 12th annual Top Guns award.

Charlie Gillman, owner and CEO, Gillman Home Centers

Charlie started his career as a general contractor, following the career path of his father and uncle. After buying his father’s home building business in the late 1980s, Charlie transitioned into home improvement retail, building the first Gillman Home Center from the ground up. The business has since expanded into 12 locations throughout southeastern Indiana and western Ohio.

“While there is increasing pressure with competition from online retailers, we have also seen a nationwide movement toward supporting local businesses. If we provide something Amazon cannot, we can thrive.”

Read the full conversation with Charlie here.


Christine Hand, owner, Handyman Home Hardware

Christine joined Handyman Home Hardware in Newfoundland, Canada, 30 years ago to help her father get his new business venture off the ground. While neither of them had industry experience, Christine enjoyed the process of learning something new and problem-solving. Throughout her time in the industry, she has served as the chair of the board of directors for Home Hardware and has been named one of Canada’s most powerful women by the Women’s Executive Network.

“The industry is about building relationships with your customers, your staff and your community. Many of the things that make a successful retailer are common sense–have a clean, bright organized store with friendly, knowledgeable staff. It’s simple, but it takes hard work and the right attitude.”

Read the full conversation with Christine here.

Mark Schulein, president, Crown Ace Hardware

Mark spent several years outside the industry before joining his father at Crown Ace Hardware in Orange County, California. Since that time, Mark has helped grow the business to 16 locations in three states through a focused, deliberate growth plan. The company is still growing, and Mark’s vision includes helping retailers through the succession process so their businesses can continue serving local communities under the Crown Ace banner.

“This cannot be a hobby; you need to have a passion for the business and be ready to go hard at it. There is opportunity here as long as you do your homework, commit to the hard work it will take and go after it with passion.”

Read the full conversation with Mark here.

Attend the 2019 NRHA All-Industry Conference, May 7-9 in Las Vegas, to hear these Top Guns share their stories and insights in person.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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