Fall 2023 Hardlines Strategies



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VISIT BOOTH #740 TO complete your fall market hat collection with a hardware house hat!


*Color Subject to change


Paving the Path for Transformation

Contents Featured Products ....... 4 Category Trends . . . . . . . . 10 Using Paint to Drive Sales Fall Market Preview ..... 14 Reset Success . . . . . . . . . 22 Anita Supply Center Heart of Hardware . . . . . . 26 Peterson Lumber & Hardware Customer Feature . . . . . . . 32 Kirtland Mercantile Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 3 Ways to Upgrade Your Business Hardware House . . . . . . . . 40 News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Father-son duo Rocky and Tyler Dumas have successfully integrated a hardware retail business into their wholesale pipe and supply company, ESSCO Pipe & Supply . Read about their reset of Aztec Hardware and the launch of a new store, Kirtland Mercantile . Vendor Showcase On the Cover

I n today’s fast-paced digital world, speed and technology have become the pillars of modern businesses, but they can also

be difficult to embrace. So many digital innovations have transformed the way we operate, communicate and engage with our employees and customers. Our commitment to investing in the latest hardware and technology has been unwavering. We recently hosted several distributors from around the country so we could show them how our warehouse is one of the most tech-savvy in our industry. Yet—we still believe that connections to our customers and the in-person service you provide to your customer is an essential part of our business that will never be replaced by a computer or technology. This is one of the core beliefs at Blish-Mize. One of the stores featured in this issue, Anita Supply Center, has been a Blish-Mize customer for years and recently underwent a refresh. We leveraged the expertise of our talented sales team to drive transformative change in their store. I think you’ll like how it turned out. Another store, Kirtland Mercantile, is a father-and-son team that makes customer relationships and family fun the center of their business. They have three stores and transformed one of their locations from an ugly duckling to hardware heaven. Be sure to check out the photos. For those looking to create more magic in their store, be sure to come meet the North American Hardware and Paint Association’s (NHPA) Melanie Moul at our Fall Market where she will talk about four ways to upgrade your business on Friday, Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. And finally, don’t miss my favorite story about how one couple met at our Market years ago and now attends—married—with their children. As we look to the future, we must remain agile, adaptable and human. Our industry and how it embraces the technology landscape will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and it is our responsibility to maintain our connections with people. It’s how we do business best.

Advertising Information Hardlines Strategies is published twice every year by Blish-Mize. Copyright 2023. For advertising rates and deadlines, please contact:

We are looking forward to a great fall selling season!

Warm Regards, Jonathan D. Mize CEO and President jonathan@blishmize.com

Blish Connor Blish-Mize

223 S. Fifth St., Box 249 Atchison, Kansas 66002 Toll free: (800) 995-0525 (913) 367-1250

(913) 375-2505 (cell) (913) 367-0667 (fax) Email: blish.connor@blishmize.com

Blish-Mize is a member-owner of Distribution America

Hardlines Strategies • Fall 2023 3


Fall 2023 Selections Check Out These Top Vendors and Products This Season

Wood Glue DAP Weldwood is a 98-year-old brand known as a leader in the contact cement space with formulas ideal for a variety of applications across woodworking and general household repairs. The current family of products include contact adhesives, original wood glue and a newly launched professional wood glue. This Weldwood Professional Wood Glue is a premium polyvinyl acetate wood glue that offers exceptional strength and durability, as well as a water-resistant bond and superior stainability that bonds stronger than wood. DAP Global Inc. dap.com or 888-327-8477

Showerhead The Two-in-One 5 Function Complete Shower set includes a five-function handheld shower, 8-inch rain shower head, shower arm, flange, 5-foot steel hose and universal adapter for easy installation. It has easy-to-clean rubber tip jets and in a matte black finish. PlumbTech griptighttools.com or 877-599-4747

Children’s Tool Kit Support your kid’s dreams by strengthening their

construction skills and encouraging them to take on the job with their own authentic five-piece construction toy tool set from a long-time trusted brand of high-quality power tools for kids—STANLEY Jr. Made of hard steel and rubber, these toy tools are identical to the adult versions but sized to fit smaller hands. The handles feature black and yellow rubberized grips so the tools stay where they belong—safe in a youngster’s hand. Teach kids early on about safety with the goggles included in the set and help them understand geometrical concepts with the 10-inch long tape measure. Red Toolbox red-toolbox.com or 708-216-1400

Multi-Tool The Fire Starting Multi-Tool has everything needed to reliably start a fire. It includes a paracord which can be lit using its wheel and flint, and a grater to create tinder shavings. The multi-tool also features an onboard knife and saw blade to cut additional wood fuel.

Zippo Manufacturing Co. zippo.com or 814-598-8491

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Pruning Shears The Milwaukee M12™ Brushless Pruning Shears deliver the fastest, most controlled pruning while reducing fatigue. These shears can cut 1 ¼-inch branches and increase application speed by 40% by locking the blades at half capacity through the mode select board. The trigger tracking technology enables the blade movement to follow the trigger movement, providing more control over the cut capacity. This, combined with the mode select and lightweight inline design, offers better accessibility and control in intricate pruning applications. The M12™ Brushless Pruning Shears reduce muscle effort by 75% compared to manual solutions. Milwaukee Tool milwaukeetool.com or 800-729-3878

Fire Starter Take the struggle out of starting a fire with Zippo Tinder Shreds. These natural pine and paraffin wax tinder shreds are water-resistant, easy to carry, quick-lighting and strong-burning. Each resealable bag includes 15 pieces.

Zippo Manufacturing Co. zippo.com or 814-598-8491

Ladder The LEANSAFE Fiberglass Leaning Ladder has a duty rating of 300lb and features the LEANSAFE ® ladder top to secure tools and accessories. It is uniquely designed to securely lean against flat wall surfaces, wall corners, poles and wall studs, and it performs as a standard stepladder. Werner’s patent-pending single latch design stays engaged when needed and is centrally located to easily open and close. WernerCo. wernerco.com or 889-523-3372

Moisture Absorber The Humydry Compact Moisture Absorber reduces humidity in spaces up to 100 square feet with its vented 360-degree lid. Its tray design stops overflow and spills, and its safety clip system locks the lid in place to keep out pets and children. This device is 100% refillable and reusable. It includes individually packaged pre-measured refills to ensure freshness and less spills. HumyDry humydry.us or 612-850-8064

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, KS


Grilling Fuel Papa’s Premium Competition Blend BBQ pellets combine hickory, oak and apple pellets for a moderately balanced smoke flavor with a sweet finish. During the production process, high pressure is applied to sawdust to create all-natural pellets with no fillers or binders. Papa’s Premium pellets provide maximum heat, smoke and flavor and are suitable for use in all wood pellet grills and smokers, pairing well with beef, poultry, pork, lamb, game meat, seafood, vegetables, baking and pizza. Fiber Energy Products papasgrilling.com or 870-269-7930

Pruning Chainsaw Lightweight and compact, the 20V MAX 8 in. Cordless Pruning Chainsaw has a high-efficiency brushless motor designed to maximize runtime and motor life. It is also designed to reduce fatigue while cutting, trimming and pruning, and its compact design allows for easy access to tight spaces. The chainsaw can be used to trim branches from downed trees, cut bundles of wood or branches and manage thick brush or daily pruning needs. DeWalt dewalt.com or 800-235-2000

Water Heater The EcoPure 31,000 Grain Water Softener is ideal for families of one to four who are looking for a reliable way to soften their water. The technology will regenerate only when necessary, saving you money. With EcoPure, healthier water doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive. EcoPure ecopure.com or 800-693-1138

Children’s Smoker The Oklahoma Joe’s Toy Smoker is designed to look like a real smoker and is made of high-quality, durable materials safe for children. The smoker also replicates a real smoker by releasing steam. The smoker is easy to operate and build, with a simple switch to control the steam and assembly instructions. Red Toolbox red-toolbox.com or 708-216-1400

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F rom new colors to advanced technologies, the realm of paint continues to evolve with the push for innovation in functionality and durability. Demand for paint continues to be strong despite continued supply chain and inflationary pressures. Knowing the latest paint trends can help you build a successful paint category in your operation. A World of Color What’s Popular in Paint for 2023

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, KS

Trending in 2023 Consulting with top interior design experts, Fixr.com, a remodeling research organization, shared the latest paint trends in its Paint and Color Trends Report 2023 . Here are some insights from the 62 design experts featured in the survey.

Most Popular Interior Color Palettes

Designers who responded to the survey were asked to choose what they believe are the most popular interior color palettes for 2023. Respondents could select more than one option.

37% warm neutrals

48% earthy tones

26% rich jewel tones

58% neutrals with pops of bold color

24% dark colors


12 Fall 2023 • Hardlines Strategies SEE US AT BOOTH #504


Top 5 Most Popular Individual Colors

1. Terracotta

3. Creamy White

2. Clay

5. Indigo

4. Deep Green/ Pewter Green

Stop by Booth # 339

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Blish-Mize customers attend buying markets to shop, save and make connections.

Stock Up & Save Discover Bargains at the Fall Buying Market E xplore deals and discounts, new products and learning opportunities at the 2023 Blish-Mize Fall Buying Market, which will take place Sept. 14-16 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas.

Your Fall Market Checklist Make sure you plan to check out these customer favorites:

• Aisle Openers • Pallet Buys • Business Workshops • Plinko

• Traffic Builders • Coupons • ShowStarters • Surprise Buys • What’s New Area • P.O.G. Stop

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Can’t Miss Attendee-Only Opportunities Stop by these special areas at the Fall Buying Market to discover new products, special merchandising strategies and Market-only deals.

Market Coupons In-person attendees get access to market coupons for exclusive deals. When: All Market hours

Traffic Builders Discover a wide range of heavily discounted product stackouts to be featured on the market floor. When: All Market hours



ShowStarters Program Shop huge discounts on a select number of individual items and enjoy amazing appetizers and drinks. When: 4-7 p.m. Sept. 14

Surprise Buys Check out the special pricing that will be revealed during this

Market-exclusive event. When: 8-10 a.m. Sept. 16

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Melanie Moul NHPA

Unlock Success Attend Business Workshops to Improve Your Operation 4 Ways to Upgrade Your Business Friday, Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. | Presenter: Melanie Moul, NHPA In every area of your operation, there are investments you can make to take your business to the next level. If you’re looking for innovative ideas to enhance inventory management, customer service, merchandising or employee engagement, this presentation will offer solutions. New Item Showcase Friday, Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. | Presenter: Top Blish-Mize Vendors The newest Blish-Mize Buying Market Business Workshop will have you watching the game clock. Our top vendors will each have four minutes to showcase their favorite new product available at the Blish-Mize warehouse. We’ve handpicked eight brands to give a super quick play on why their item is a slam dunk. Come hear the pitches to receive a free hat and entry into the app prize game giveaway.

Hardlines Strategies • Fall 2023 17


Use Your SmartBook Your SmartBook is available online and in print and can help you make smart buying decisions before and during the Fall Market. This booklet is customized for your store and includes your warehouse purchases for the past 12 months. It also offers suggested ordering amounts for the next three and six months to help you plan your purchases before you arrive at the Market. • New items Blish-Mize has added from vendors in the last year • The balance of the items you have purchased, sorted in quantity order “The Blish-Mize SmartBook is like a purchasing tour guide for our Buying Market,” says Sarah Lee, vice president of purchasing at Blish-Mize. “It’s an essential tool full of recommendations for the entire year and strategic advice on how to tackle your buying plan.” Contact your sales representative or visit blishmize.com to receive your personalized SmartBook and start planning your time at the Market. SmartBook Sections • Key selling “Market Featured” items


Stop by Booth # 416


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Download the Apps The Blish-Mize and Blish-Mize Market apps can help you make the most of your time at the Market.



Market App •

Event schedules

• • • •

Program information

Floor layout

Vendor directory

Workshop schedules and information

Blish-Mize App •

Browse the Blish-Mize product catalog Place orders from your smartphone or tablet View updated product and inventory information, scan UPC barcodes and see your personalized purchase information

The apps are free to download on iOS and Android devices. Search “Blish-Mize” in your app store to download the apps and plan your Market experience.

Booth # 300

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Explore Additional Market Programs

Sponsor Event To join the Thursday and Friday night drawings, visit sponsoring vendor booths to learn how to qualify for an exclusive prize ticket and the chance to win a prize.

Aisle Openers Want more eyes on your aisles? Explore displays from stocking and non stocking vendors in this end cap and impulse area. sponsoring vendor booths to find out how to qualify for an exclusive prize ticket. Interactive Sponsoring Vendor App Game Customers must visit

P.O.G. Stop Don’t miss this must-see spot on the Market floor featuring stocking vendor displays.

Market Attendee Terms Attend our Fall Buying Market and receive a 4% cash discount and 60-day terms on all market warehouse purchases. Spend $6,000+ in Market warehouse purchases and double your dating. Ask your Blish-Mize Sales Representative for complete details.

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Market Schedule See the 2023 Fall Buying Market schedule and make a plan to spend more time exploring deals and meeting with vendors on the Market floor.

THURSDAY 4 p.m. .. . . . . . . . . . . . Market opens 4-7 p.m. .. . . . . . . . . . . ShowStarters Event 4-6:30 p.m. .......... Sponsor Event 6:45 p.m. ........... Prize Drawing 7 p.m. .. . . . . . . . . . . . Market Closes

FRIDAY 8 a.m. ................... Market Opens 10 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business Workshop

SATURDAY 8 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market Opens 8-10 a.m. ............ Surprise Buys Event 10:05 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . App Prize Drawing 10:15 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Surprise Buys Drawings 10:20 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cash and Prize Drawings 10:30 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market Closes

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Business Presenter: Melanie Moul, NHPA

1-5 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plinko 3 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business Workshop New Item Showcase Presenter: Top Blish-Mize Vendors 4:30-6:30 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sponsor Event 6:30 p.m. ............ Cash and Prize Drawings 6:45 p.m. .................. Sponsor Event Exclusive Prize Drawing 5-7 p.m. . . . . . . . Dinner and Drinks on Market Floor 7 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market Closes

Booth # 350

Booth # 156 & 158

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Anita Supply Center opened in 2012 in Anita, Iowa, and is a full-service building supply center, including a lumberyard.

Upgrading for Success Anita Supply Center Improves Store Flow With Reset

C reating an optimized comprehensive customer service. Anita Supply Center owners Kim and Brian Wendt wanted to upgrade their store’s floorplan, so they turned to Blish-Mize for help. Learn how the Wendts partnered with the Blish-Mize team to refresh their operation and make the store easy to navigate for their customers. store flow is a necessary component of providing

Ready for a Reset Anita Supply Center opened in 2012 in Anita, Iowa, and is a full-service building supply center, including a lumberyard. Since they opened, the business has become a staple for the community, serving a trading area of 2,000 residents. In 2022, the Wendts were ready for a refresh of the store, especially after the last several years of challenging supply chains affecting their inventory. “After the pandemic, we had more products than ever before, since we had focused on getting what we could into the store to help support the community,” Kim says. “We needed to find a more interesting way to merchandise to make it easier for customers to find exactly what they were looking for.” The Wendts turned to their Blish-Mize sales representative Peggy Kaldenberg to help them get started on a store reset project.

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Come see us at Booth # 222 Save 25% on New Hammers - Drop Ship

Available to ship now! Drop Ship Prepaid Freight at $500

New Hammer Lineup • Vibration dampening technology coupled with a vibration control handle minimize vibration when striking by 70% • Optimized strike face with 15% larger sweet spot to provide greater impact • Textured fawn’s foot grip gives users an ergonomically sound and sure grip on the hammer • Precision-balanced design with precise weight distribution leads to better accuracy and amplifies force of each swing

See the entire line of Crescent brand products.


© 2023 Apex Tool Group, LLC | ATG-56250


Creating a Plan The store is 4,000 square feet inside and also has 12,000 square feet outside for lumber and building materials. The store’s inside core departments are home hardware and paint and sundries. They decided to maintain the fasteners department because it’s a challenging category to move, and Peggy helped them design the new floorplan around the existing fasteners display. Outside in the yard, they also kept the fencing and siding because it’s in a convenient location for loading. “Other than fasteners, nuts and bolts, we reset the entire store,” Kim says. “Peggy and the entire team went above and beyond, making sure we had everything we needed in the store for our official reset. She worked with us to create the new layout and helped coordinate Blish-Mize employees coming to the store to reorganize the departments.” Because paint is a significant traffic driver for the business, they moved the department to the front of the store near the entrance. In addition to resetting, they also created new impulse areas and endcap displays. These new areas have contributed to increased transaction sizes.

The store’s inside core departments are home hardware and paint and sundries.

Stop by Booth # 246

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Some final details are still coming together at Anita Supply Center, such as vendor displays and store signage. Kim says she was surprised at the speed of the initial store reset, due to the support of Blish-Mize staff. “The initial reset where the Blish-Mize team came in and moved a majority of the store happened quickly— less than a week,” she says. “We are so grateful for the Blish-Mize team and our sales representative Peggy for not only creating the new floor plan, but coming out and doing the heavy lifting that comes with completely changing a store layout.” Kim says the partnership with Blish-Mize was a key factor in the success of the reset. They wouldn’t have been able to do it without the distributor’s support. “They came in, got the job done and have continued to support us since they did the initial reset in February,” she says. “Blish-Mize has been incredibly helpful through the entire process. They aren’t just a wholesaler and distributor—they are family. We are so incredibly grateful for their help in making our store shine.”

Booth # 240

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Love at First Market N ot only is Peterson Lumber & Hardware the Retailers’ Love Story Thanks to Blish-Mize Peterson Lumber & Hardware owners Joni and Jeffrey Peterson met at Blish-Mize markets when they were kids. Now, they own and operate their own hardware store and bring their two children to markets. Established in 1874, Peterson Lumber & Hardware has evolved over the last 150 years and undergone several name changes, each marking a new era of stewardship. Joni’s parents, Richard and Hardware Love Story Both the Guimond and Peterson families enjoyed attending Blish-Mize markets

when Joni and Jeffrey were children. The families had met years before Joni and Jeffrey were born, and once they had children, the market was a family-friendly event for them to reconnect twice a year. As a result, Joni and Jeffrey grew up getting to know one another twice a year at markets. “Every market, Jeffrey and I enjoyed walking around, finding free products on the show floor, swimming and drinking Shirley Temples,” Joni says. “We danced around each other for most of our childhood. But at the fall market of

oldest business in White City and Morris County, Kansas, but it is a dream come true for owners Joni and Jeffrey Peterson and their children, Journey and Jeremiah Peterson.

Pam Guimond, purchased the store in 1989 and operated the business for 30 years under the name Guimond Lumber & Hardware, where Joni spent most of her childhood days. In the neighboring town of Alta Vista, Kansas, just 17 miles away, Jeffrey also grew up with his parents managing the hardware store Wolgast Lumber. Joni and Jeffrey’s happily ever after began in an unexpected place—a Blish-Mize buying market at the ages of 10.

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our fifth-grade year, Jeffrey finally asked me to dance after the formal dinner reception—though not before his father kicked him under the table a few times to get Jeffrey to ask ‘that girl’ to dance.” Following that dance, Jeffrey asked Joni to be his girlfriend. “We dated for one month before Jeffrey wrote me a breakup letter because the distance was too far for him,” Joni says. “I still have the letter.” The pair continued to see each other at each market for nearly the next decade, dating on and off again, until they graduated high school and went their separate ways. However, life always seems to bring people together in unexpected ways. In 2003, Joni was beginning her senior year at Emporia State University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. “I was engaged, had a career planned out and was ready to take the next steps forward,” Joni says. “Then my wedding fell through 19 days before the ceremony.” Five months passed and Joni continued her school work, trying to find her new path. Then she had a dream about Jeffrey, her childhood boyfriend from the Blish-Mize markets, walking up the stairs and sliding down the banister. “I shared the dream with my parents and knew I had to give Jeffrey a call,” Joni says. “I didn’t have his number, so I ended up calling his mom to ask for it. She gladly gave it to me and told me Jeffrey was seeing someone else.” Joni reached out to Jeffrey, and now they say the rest is history. “I graduated from college and four months later we were engaged,” Joni says. “We got married and now have our own beautiful children, Journey and Jeremiah, who we take to Blish-Mize markets as our parents did for us.”

“Purchasing the business was really a dream come true. Since we both had a positive experience growing up in the industry, we knew we wanted to stay in the business.” —Joni Peterson, Peterson Lumber & Hardware Taking Ownership Once the couple married, Joni began teaching kindergarten at her childhood school and Jeffrey started working for Joni’s father at Guimond Lumber & Hardware. At the beginning of 2020, Joni’s parents retired and passed their business on to Joni and Jeffrey. “Purchasing the business was really a dream come true,” Joni says. “Since we both had a positive experience growing up in the industry, we knew we wanted to stay in the business.” Just three months after purchasing the operation and renaming it Peterson Lumber & Hardware, the pandemic broke out and most retail businesses shut down, but the couple continued strong. Peterson Lumber & Hardware serves the community of White City, Kansas, a town of 600 people, providing them with a wide variety of products—with lumber, plumbing and building supplies being its leading categories. When home improvement businesses were deemed essential, it continued to provide for the rural farming and ranching community. As such, the business saw a significant increase in sales. During the pandemic, they expanded their product selection, stocking merchandise their customers needed and couldn’t purchase elsewhere such as PVC pipe, plexiglass and wafer board. One helpful solution to the chaotic situation was the POS system the Petersons implemented at the beginning of 2020. Joni’s father had previously kept the store organized with handwritten receipts and manual inventory management. The Petersons wanted to incorporate technology and modernize the business with a new POS system. This allowed them to continue making strides in efficiency and accuracy for order filling and inventory management. To make room for more inventory and update the store, the Petersons added new merchandising bins. The couple also invested in a new paint color matching system and chip rack. “We now offer paint-matching services so customers can bring in an item they would like to color match, and we can figure out the correct color mixture and mix it almost instantly,” Joni says.

In 2020, the Peterson Family purchased Guimond Lumber & Hardware from Joni’s parents and opened Peterson Lumber & Hardware.

Hardlines Strategies • Fall 2023 27


Peterson Lumber & Hardware is a family affair. From left to right: Dale Peterson , Carol Peterson, Jeffrey Peterson, Jeremiah Peterson, Journey Peterson, Joni Peterson, Pam Guimond and Richard Guimond.


Stop by Booth # 641

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Above and Beyond Service The Petersons feel blessed when it comes to running a family business where everyone pitches in. Jeffrey and his father Dale are in charge of the store’s daily operations, and Joni can frequently be found at the store after she’s done teaching and on Saturday mornings. Journey and Jeremiah, the Petersons’ children, are teenagers and are finding their place in the family business, contributing to regular operations like assisting with deliveries and stocking. Joni’s parents, who are now retired, spend their free time helping in the business. Jeffrey’s mom, Carol Peterson, can be found sweeping the floor, taking out the trash and keeping the store tidy. The Petersons consider their customers to be an extension of their family and wholeheartedly embrace their small-town community, extending their unwavering support across various spheres including schools, churches, local organizations and community events. They also make an effort to be available outside of store hours for their customers. “Since we are a small community, we know everyone by name and they know they can reach out to us at any time of day to get what they need,” Joni says.

The Peterson family works together to keep their business running. From left to right: Jeffrey, Journey, Jeremiah and Joni.

Booth # 440

Hardlines Strategies • Fall 2023 29


Peterson Lumber & Hardware sits in the heart of White City, Kansas. The store was established in 1874 and is the longest operating business in the city and the county.

World Class Products with World Class Merchandising Come see the Diablo Difference in Booth # 140!

March 21-23 | Overland Park, KS

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“Blish-Mize is more than a company. We consider them family. We proudly serve as the go-to hardware store and lumberyard in our area thanks to our partnership with Blish-Mize.” —Joni Peterson, Peterson Lumber & Hardware

“It takes going the extra mile and putting in the extra time to keep our customers, community and contractors satisfied and coming back for more.” Customer service is not the only way the Petersons go above and beyond for their customers. Offering a comprehensive mix of trusted products has helped them continue the company’s positive reputation and encourage repeat business, and Blish-Mize has been a large factor in their success. However, for the Petersons and their team, the connection to Blish-Mize has always extended beyond a vendor customer relationship. “Blish-Mize is more than a company. We consider them family,” Joni says. “They are all about helping their customers find success running their own family businesses. If we ever have any questions, our representative is just a phone call away. We proudly serve as the go-to hardware store and lumberyard in our area thanks to our partnership with Blish-Mize.”



All 4 Corners

Family, Hardware and Waterworks Prove a Winning Combination for ESSCO Pipe & Supply

Tyler Dumas (left) and his father, Rocky Dumas, teamed up to expand the ESSCO Pipe & Supply business with the addition of two hardware stores.

I n 2020, Tyler Dumas returned home to New Mexico to join his father, Rocky, in the family business, ESSCO Pipe & Supply. The wholesale pipe and supply company had recently ventured into the hardware business with the acquisition of a local hardware store.

the company and quickly made it profitable by cutting expenses, examining nearly 10,000 store SKUs to adjust prices and offering a volume rebate to loyal customers. “What I do is grow companies,” Rocky says. “If you get in there, pay attention and look for unique opportunities in the industry, I think you can be successful by filling those niches.” In 2018, Rocky decided to expand to a second location in Aztec, New Mexico. During the renovation of the Aztec building, an opportunity presented itself when Rocky realized the scarcity of hardware supplies in the area. He approached the owners of Aztec Hardware, which had been serving

Driven by an ambition for growth, Tyler wasted no time in leading a reset of the Aztec Hardware store in Aztec, New Mexico, and successfully launching a new store, Kirtland Mercantile in nearby Kirtland, New Mexico. Cue the Waterworks ESSCO Pipe & Supply, the leading wholesale pipe and supply company in the Four Corners region, has been in operation in Farmington, New Mexico, since 1985. Rocky purchased the company in 2012 after initially serving as the general manager to assess its viability. Recognizing its potential despite $250,000 in annual losses, he moved forward and acquired

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“We made a phone call, and sure enough, it had been for sale for quite some time and vacant for well over a decade and a half,” Tyler says. “My dad looked at me, and he asked what I thought. I told him, ‘I think I can make a hardware store out of this.’” The store rehab was an enormous undertaking, but according to Tyler, the price was right. Still, it not only required a significant investment of cash, but also sweat equity, as Tyler and Rocky preferred to take on as much of the work as they could using only two outside laborers. Work on the Kirtland store took approximately 12 months to complete, and once it was ready, Tyler met with their Blish-Mize sales representative Denver Randol to discuss proposals for store inventory and layout. Relationship With Blish-Mize The Blish-Mize relationship dates back to the former Aztec Hardware location and owners who did business for years with Amarillo Hardware and continued to do business with Blish-Mize after the Amarillo Hardware acquisition. Tyler says his relationship with Randol developed when he moved back to New Mexico to work in the business and was looking to open the Kirtland store. “Denver and Clay Uhrmacher put together an extremely generous package,” Tyler says. “It was a no-brainer for us to continue and expand our partnership with them to set the Kirtland store.” Tyler says the positive results of the Kirtland store set and the feedback and hands-on approach Blish-Mize provided—along with Randol’s constant support and presence—only strengthened the relationship between the two companies.

the community since 1904, with an acquisition offer. The owners accepted Rocky’s offer, leading to a second life for the business. With the integration of Aztec Hardware into the new ESSCO building in Aztec, a new concept was born—a hardware store with a very well-stocked waterworks division. With an eye on his future retirement, Rocky invited his son Tyler to join him in the business, to learn the ropes and one day buy him out. A Father-Son Team At the time, Tyler was working as a supervisor at a copper mine in Salt Lake City, Utah, but he missed the Four Corners and his family. When his father presented him the opportunity to join and grow the family business, Tyler made the move back to New Mexico with his wife, Kallie. “It’s kind of a unique situation, being a father-son team,” Tyler says. “We’re a lot alike and we spend a lot of time with each other away from work. We both like to camp, fish and hunt.” Tyler acknowledges that there is risk involved for friends and family to work together. “We were really cautious at first, but we set some ground rules to help this work,” he says. “We didn’t want it to ruin our relationship outside of work, and we still wanted to be able to hang out with each other on the weekends. I’ve been here for over two years now and couldn’t have asked for a better relationship with my dad, the business and how things have gone. And, we’re still hanging out on Saturdays.” Rocky says the partnership is a winning combination. “When we teamed up together, it really accelerated the company’s growth and profitability,” he says. Strong Ambitions With Tyler now onboard, he and Rocky were ready for a new challenge, and there was a focus on improving and expanding the hardware side of the business. Sales for ESSCO piping and fittings alone generated several million dollars in annual sales revenue in 2022. However, the margins for Aztec Hardware were even better. With that in mind, they decided to revamp and reset the Aztec Hardware store—with Tyler taking the lead on the project. They also began the search for a new store location in the surrounding communities that were underserved in hardware offerings outside of Farmington, a hub for the Four Corners with many retail stores and restaurants. “We always tell ourselves if we’re not growing, we’re dying,” Tyler says. A Diamond in the Rough When searching for the location for a second hardware store, Tyler and Rocky drove around the surrounding areas, looking for unique buildings or real estate for sale. Tyler describes how one day they saw an ugly, bright orange building off the side of the road in nearby Kirtland, New Mexico, surrounded by a jungle of weeds and trash with a “for sale” sign posted. The building was less than ideal, but the location on U.S. Route 64 was perfect. It was a spot they must have driven past dozens of times.

The stores carry Midwest Fastener, STIHL power tools, Cabot and Minwax stains and Valspar paint, stains and sundries.

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Tyler Dumas (right) says the company’s motto is “to provide better than expected service.” He is seen here assisting customers alongside his father, Rocky.

“It has been an enjoyable learning experience working with this father-son team,” Randol says. “Seeing their vision on a run-down building and knowing what it could be and then helping them fulfill this goal has been rewarding. I look forward to working with them and their staff to keep expanding on this vision and helping them expand on their entrepreneurial objectives.” A Store Is Born Tyler and Rocky decided on the name of Kirtland Mercantile for the new store. It reflected their vision for the store and its old-fashioned yet modern design and feel, with Western saloon details incorporated throughout. Kirtland Mercantile sits on 1.5 acres, with a long, rectangular 4,000-square-foot store. When rehabbing the store, Tyler uncovered the store’s original cedar tongue-and-groove ceiling with iron trusses. He later added ceiling fans and other rustic elements. The store layout is open and inviting, with six aisles flowing from the front cashier station. The walls and shelves

are a light tan, adding to the overall light and airy feel of the store’s interior. Planned future improvements include an update of the external storefront to match the Western saloon style along with larger exterior signage. Kirtland Mercantile had a soft opening in January, and a grand opening in June. Tyler promoted the event in the community with mailed flyers created through the Blish-Mize On Demand program. Product Offerings The Aztec and Kirtland hardware stores carry all the product lines you’d expect to find in a traditional hardware store—with the addition of an incredibly robust waterworks department. “You know, there’s not a hardware store, including the big-box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, that can really match our waterworks, inventory and supplies,” Tyler says. Plumbing, paint and sundries along with fasteners are some of the biggest selling categories. The lawn and garden department is also a leader for the business.

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The stores carry Midwest Fastener, STIHL power tools, Cabot and Minwax stains and Valspar paint, stains and sundries. There are also plans to expand into lumber at both locations and to begin offering feed and supply for agricultural animals at the Aztec store. For inventory inspiration, Tyler says they like to explore unique hardware stores in northern Colorado and make a point to visit local stores when traveling. Rocky and his wife also hand-pick pottery and outdoor decor items from Mexico to bring back to the stores. Serving the Community Kirtland is a one-lane town, with all of the local businesses situated on the main highway. It’s an agriculture and farmer-focused area that borders the Navajo Nation Reservation. Although Kirtland is home to people from all walks of life, the Navajo Nation comprises approximately 80% of the customer base at Kirtland Mercantile. Many of the elders in the community don’t speak English and only speak Navajo. Fortunately, one of the store employees resides on the reservation and speaks Navajo. “It’s really important for us to have somebody here who can speak with them,” Tyler says. “They would rather speak with somebody who can communicate in Navajo.” In addition, the store runs radio ads in Navajo, using Basin Broadcasting Company Inc. located in Farmington. The new Kirtland Mercantile store offers locals a relief from having to drive to Farmington for their hardware needs. Tyler credits this convenience and exceptional customer service for the store’s success thus far. “Our company motto is to provide better than expected service,” Tyler says. “Anybody who comes into one of our stores can expect to be greeted immediately. We’ll hold their hand and walk them exactly where they need to go.” Future Focused With the successful integration of two hardware stores and a vision for the future, ESSCO Pipe & Supply aims to continue its growth and provide quality products and services to the communities it serves. The combination of a reputable pipe and supply company with well-stocked hardware stores has positioned the business as a go-to destination for both contractors and individuals in need of plumbing and hardware solutions in the Four Corners region. “Our main goal for the next few years at Kirtland Mercantile is to make sure we’re established and get our roots into the community and ensure the store is going to be a viable business for us,” Tyler says. Outside of Kirtland, Tyler says they are looking to expand the business to other towns and are always looking for businesses to purchase.

Above: Kirtland Mercantile serves local residents who otherwise would need to drive out of their way to access the same products and services. Below: Final details continue to come together at Kirtland Mercantile, including plans for a larger sign and adding gravel to the yard.

“We love to grow companies,” he says. “Whether it’s a hardware or plumbing store, we’re aggressively looking at different locations in New Mexico to expand to and we’re continually trying to get better and diversify. Within the next five years, we’re really going to try and scale up.” Tyler also says the company is considering rebranding to a farm and ranch model in the future and expanding into lumber. “Nobody can compete with us on our waterworks,” he says. “So if we can combine all of those elements into one model and brand, we can create something that is recognizable and a true staple for communities.”

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3 Upgrades to Elevate Your Business Operational Excellence O ver the last several years, you have likely prevailed through some of your operation’s most significant challenges. From navigating public health concerns and supply chain issues to managing uncertain pricing changes or labor shortages, it seemed for a while that around every corner, there was some new operational roadblock to overcome.

At the same time, the independent home improvement channel has seen the most significant growth on record over the last several years. According to the 2022 Cost of Doing Business Study , published by the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA), median sales for a typical hardware store in 2021 were up just about 1% over 2020, but the same metric in 2020 represented a

39% increase over 2019. It’s unlikely that the industry will see such a dramatic increase again, but the truth is that the industry isn’t the same as it was just a few years ago. Achieving record sales growth year-over-year isn’t feasible long-term, but you can make continual investments in your business to contribute to steady growth and ensure your operation’s longevity.

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Stop by Booth # 526


UPGRADE 1 Optimize your inventory management process.

UPGRADE 3 Make your merchandising pop.


In late 2020, Blish-Mize made a significant investment at the distribution center in Atchison, Kansas, in an effort to streamline order picking and improve accuracy. “In order to stay current in today’s marketplace, businesses have to constantly leverage state-of-the-art technological practices and equipment. Customer expectations are at an all-time high, and they are constantly evolving at an accelerating pace,” says Jonathan Mize, Blish-Mize CEO and president. “We feel as if we’ve been able to stay modern and valuable with this singular investment, as it is already bringing the most returns in efficiencies and accuracies we’ve ever seen in our warehouse.” Stay on top of your inventory management process— and ensure you have the right products in stock for your customers—by making sure you are using your POS system effectively and taking advantage of the tools it offers. Contact your POS provider representative to find out what data may help you make more strategic purchasing decisions. In addition, make cycle counts and checking for outs a regular part of your staff’s responsibilities so everyone is involved in the inventory management process.

Alongside knowledgeable staff and a streamlined inventory process, committing to best-in-class merchandising is one more upgrade you can make to elevate your operation. Utilize core merchandising strategies like power aisles of large items, regularly rotated endcaps and clear pricing and signage to make your store easier to shop. These strategies also improve your price image and help you sell through inventory more quickly, making room for more. If you want to make a big impact, a merchandising reset can be a fresh start for your team and your customers. Turn to Page 22 to read how Blish-Mize helped Kim and Brian Wendt at Anita Supply Center complete a whole store reset in record time.

BONUS UPGRADE Attend “4 Ways to Upgrade Your Business” presented by NHPA’s Melanie Moul at the Blish-Mize Fall Market Friday, September 15, 10 a.m.

Melanie Moul NHPA

UPGRADE 2 Invest in your company culture.

According to ongoing research from Gallup that measures employee engagement, about 50% of U.S. workers are “not engaged” in their work. Improving company culture can be the key in helping move the needle from not engaged to actively engaged, which can have a remarkable impact on your business. Actively engaged employees seek more knowledge, are invested in the future of the company and are less likely to leave. If you’re looking for a way to improve your company culture and engage your employees in your operation, NHPA has several programs that can be customized to fit your needs. Visit YourNHPA.org/development or call 800-772-4424 to learn more about TeamBuilder, Vision Process, Everything DISC ® assessments and other tools that can help develop your team into all-stars.

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1.800.414.2837 | TARTERUSA.COM


Fixed on Fixtures Explore the Variety at Booth #740 H ardware House continues to be a key vendor of

vanities, faucets, lighting, locks and other fixtures for Blish-Mize customers. At the Fall Market, make sure to explore the setups as well as a variety of new and updated products such as their square bowl vanity and trending black matte bathroom fixtures. Whether you want to look through the latest catalog or talk to a representative about updating your in-store displays, Hardware House is a must-see area of the Market floor.

For more information about Hardware House offerings, visit hardware-house.com or talk to your Blish-Mize sales representative about how to get started.

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Booth # 604

© Valspar


Past Featured Vendors • Valspar Discover Brand New Items Attend the New Item Showcase to See What’s New From Vendors M ake sure to check out the New Item Showcase, Friday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m. in the ballroom. During the event, vendors will give short four-minute presentations about their new items now available to Blish-Mize customers. Interested • Milwaukee

in what you see? Make sure to check the vendor booth after the presentation to speak with a sales representative to get more information and see the products first hand.


• Swan

The Blish-Mize Fall Market floor will feature a variety of new products and old favorites from trusted and new vendors.

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