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Young Retailers Reflect on Value of Independents

The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) honored eight young retailers during its annual Young Retailer of the Year awards ceremony May 8 in Las Vegas.

The honorees, who represent a variety of distributors and lead retail operations throughout the country, spoke during the event. They thanked their families, customers and employees for their support, and talked about their careers so far.

They also reflected on what it means to lead an independent business.

“I really believe in small business. It’s the lifeblood of America,” honoree Bobby Heuser said during the ceremony.

He is president of Heuser Ace Hardware in Bluffton, South Carolina.

“I think a locally owned small business offers a value proposition that big boxes can’t offer,” Heuser says. “We live in our own communities. We’re serving our neighbors. That goes so far.”

Jason Plummer, vice president of R.P. Lumber Co., Inc. in Edwardsville, Illinois, talked about the award and the many people who have contributed to making his business prosper.

“We’ve got a lot of people who make this possible. Good suppliers, good banks, good customers. We wouldn’t be here without them,” Plummer says. “It’s not about me doing anything special. I work hard, but I know where my roots are and I know where I come from.”

He also shared some thoughts on the home improvement retail sector.

“There’s a lot of change in the industry,” Plummer says.

“We’re trying to stay up with it, but the core values don’t change. Hard work, discipline, taking care of customers. The day you lose those things is the day you lose business.”

The NRHA Young Retailer of the Year program, which is now in its 21st year, identifies and honors the individual achievements of exceptional retailers age 35 and younger working in the U.S. and Canada.

The full list of the 2017 Young Retailer of the Year honorees is below and organized by category.

Under $2 Million in Annual Sales

  • Reed “RJ” McDaniel Jr., vice president, co-owner, B&B Hardware, Milan, Illinois

Over $2 Million in Annual Sales

  • Joseph Franquinha, owner, Crest True Value Hardware and Urban Garden Center, Brooklyn, New York
  • Bobby Heuser, president, Heuser Ace Hardware, Bluffton, South Carolina
  • Jackie Sacks, owner, Round Top Mercantile, Round Top, Texas

Multiple Stores

  • Camille Gibson, general manager, Mark’s Ace Hardware, Tucson, Arizona
  • Jarrod Haines, store manager, Buchheit, House Springs, Missouri
  • Jason Plummer, vice president, R.P. Lumber Co., Inc., Edwardsville, Illinois
  • Matthew Payzant, general manager, Payzant Home Hardware Building Centre, Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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