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NRHA, Industry Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Deem Home Improvement Retailers ‘Essential’

The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and home improvement industry leaders are banding together to urge federal, state and local governments to deem home improvement workers as “essential” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter was signed and released by the president and CEO of NRHA, as well as the heads of Do it Best Corp.; Home Hardware Stores Ltd.; PRO Group; Ace Hardware Corp.; Distribution America; Orgill Inc. and True Value Co.

Read the letter in full below. Download a copy to share with your local leaders.


INDIANAPOLIS—As our nations and communities react to the spread of COVID-19, the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) urges all business owners to use the utmost care and caution when considering how to proceed with operations.


NRHA is suggesting that these business operators follow all community health guidelines and take every precaution to ensure that their employees and customers remain safe.


We also realize that our local, state and federal governments are engaged in justifiably aggressive efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and do everything within their powers to keep the public safe and healthy.


In recent days, the discussion of how to best ensure the public health has included the possibility of asking all “non-essential” retail operations to shut their doors for a period of time, thereby minimizing exposure to the virus.


While NRHA is fully in support of any steps public health officials may deem necessary to combat COVID-19, up to and including the temporary closure of non-essential retail operations, we also urge public officials to consider locally owned home improvement stores among those retail operations determined to be “essential” and allow these business owners the option to stay open as a public service.


With nearly 35,000 independent home improvement retailers serving communities across North America, these stores provide much-needed services to individuals and contractors, providing them with the products and support required to keep their homes and communities safe, secure and functioning.


The products carried by independent home improvement retailers range from cleaning supplies and tools to batteries and storage containers—all of which can be essential to maintaining a safe and secure living environment.


In many communities, the local hardware store represents the only outlet where consumers have access to essential supplies for cleaning, disinfecting, maintaining or repairing their residences.


It is also important to note that locally owned home improvement stores have a proven track record of providing essential supplies and support to communities in past emergency situations, such as hurricanes, floods, fires and civil unrest.


Because of these considerations, NRHA together with the industry leaders who have signed on in support of this statement, is urging all local, state, provincial and federal government offices to classify independent local home improvement retailers among those operations determined to be “essential” retail outlets that can exercise the option to remain open to support their communities during these trying times.




Robert Cutter, president and CEO of NRHA
Dan Starr, president and CEO of Do it Best Corp.
Kevin Macnab, president and CEO of Home Hardware Stores Ltd.
Steve Synnott, president and CEO of PRO Group
John Venhuizen, president and CEO of Ace Hardware Corp.
David Christmas, president and CEO of Distribution America
Boyden Moore, president and CEO of Orgill, Inc.
John Hartmann, president and CEO of True Value Co.

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