HARDLINES Strategies


SPRING 2023, VOL. 23, 1

Danek Hardware and Lumber Co. Embraces Change Past and Present

Also in This Issue Grow Your Business at the Spring Market Discover the Power of Engaging Merchandising Strategies

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Clearing the Way for Change

Contents Ask the Expert . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Featured Products . . . . . . . . 6 Online Traffic . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Spring Market Preview . . . . 14 Heart of Hardware . . . . . . . 22 Customer Feature . . . . . . . . 26 Danek Hardware & Lumber Operations Feature . . . . . . . 34 Merchandising Hardware House . . . . . . . . . 40 News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Ownership of Danek Hardware and Lumber Co. has been in the Danek family since 1954. Located along Interstate Highway 35 between Austin and Waco, Texas, the operation focuses on supporting its rapidily growing community. Retirement Q&A On the Cover

E very spring, I get excited about lawn work. You read that right. I can’t wait to get back outside and spend time fixing up the winter’s damage. A deep sense of accomplishment comes with working the land on your own, and I know many of you feel the same way. Taking matters into your own hands is how many of us do business. I know many of you work seven days a week to keep the store afloat. Many of you are marking in inventory as our trucks arrive. Some

of you play the part of general manager, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and more. Finding time to come to our markets is a challenge, but you make it work, even if it doubles as your vacation. We appreciate any time you can give us, and we look forward to seeing you face to face at the 2023 Spring Market. One area you’ve also likely been fairly hands-on with is merchandising. Starting on Page 34, we offer some insights into merchandising best practices to help you make the most of the assortments you’ll find at the market. This guide can help you boost your sales per square foot and improve impulse purchasing heading into the busy spring season. On the cover of this issue, we’re featuring our good friends, the Danek family. This passionate group has been in the hardware business for multiple generations running Danek Hardware and Lumber in Jarrell, Texas. See how they balance work and family and learn about their plans for the future of the operation. Lastly, in this issue, we’ve got two great stories—one about a new beginning on Page 42 and another about a strong ending. At the end of last year, Greg Lutz, executive vice president of operations, retired from his role after 24 years. Greg will still be working part–time for us on various projects this year. We thank him for his long tenure and wish him rest and relaxation as he spends more time with his grandchildren and in his yard—which happens to be right next to mine. With this transition, we welcome Brady Clark as vice president of operations who has been with us since June of last year. Brady has over 20 years of experience in the distribution industry, and we look forward to his contributions to our team. You can learn more about Brady on Page 4. With these fresh starts, we are excited to continue providing excellence in distribution services, and as always, “Delivering More” to you, our valued customers.

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

Blish Connor Blish-Mize

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

Happy Spring!

(913) 375-2505 (cell) (913) 367-0667 (fax) Email:

Warm Regards, Jonathan D. Mize CEO and President

Blish-Mize is a member-owner of Distribution America

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A New Begining Get to Know Vice President of Operations Brady Clark

V ice president of June 2022.

“I grew up less than 30 miles away, so being this close to home has been wonderful, and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work for a great company with such a rich history.”

operations Brady Clark started at Blish-Mize in

Strategies got Clark’s insights on operations and his plans for investing in the future of the company and team.

Strategies (S): How did you get involved in the industry and what led you to Blish-Mize? Brady Clark (BC): I’ve been in distribution for almost my entire career. I moved around the midwest working for several companies for about 10 years before making my way back to Kansas, where I am originally from. I learned Blish-Mize was looking for someone with experience to fulfill the vice president of operations role, and I had the great opportunity to come on board.

—Brady Clark, vice president of operations

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“I am always thinking about how we can maximize and fulfill all of our customer’s requests.”

It’s been great for me personally and professionally. I grew up less than 30 miles away, so being this close to home has been wonderful, and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work for a great company with such a rich history. S: What is your approach to operations. BC: I’m very process oriented. My previous experience and time spent with other distribution centers allowed for extensive Lean training, which focuses on the philosophy of trying to minimize any wasted movement or motion to make jobs easier and more efficient. The other part of my approach to operations is addressing customer needs. I am always thinking about how we can maximize and fulfill all of our customer’s requests. Blish-Mize is so unique because we work with small businesses, and I get the opportunity to work through multiple departments. This really helps everything come full circle and allows me to share with our team what goes on outside the building and how their work makes an impact. So to sum it up, I try to make everyone’s job easier by avoiding unnecessary actions while fulfilling customer needs to the best of our ability and explaining to my team why we are doing things a certain way and how their work impacts the customers. We’re continuing to move in the right direction, which has been very rewarding. S: What are your 2023 goals and expectations for yourself and the company? BC: I’d say our biggest goal is to continue to improve our customer service. We’ve made great strides just in the last few months. This means continuing to focus on aspects like getting trucks out on time and making those delivery times so our customers are satisfied and happy to partner with us. Another goal is to invest in the development of our warehouse employees and leadership team. I want to make sure we continue to build foundations for good leaders to follow in our footsteps going forward. We’ve been limited in this area over the past couple of years due to issues like staffing shortages and the pandemic, but we now have an opportunity to circle back and really prioritize training and developing new leaders. This includes taking steps to educate the team on key business performance indicators. Lastly, we want to improve our accuracy percentage and get that over 99%. We also want to be over 99% with all our trucks leaving on time and utilize our equipment and tools so we are reaching max efficiency. On top of those improvements, we want to maintain our high safety standards. S: What are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for retailers right now and in the near future? How is Blish-Mize planning to help retailers in those areas? BC: I think the supply chain network as a whole is a challenge. Retailers are still having issues with having the exact items their customers are looking for. To help with this, we’ve really looked outside the box for different vendor partners, manufacturers

—Brady Clark, vice president of operations

Vice President of Operations, Brady Clark, started at Blish-Mize in June 2022.

and companies to help supply our warehouse so we have product available for our retail partners. I think that’ll continue to be a big challenge. I think the other challenge will be inflation, which means finding ways to keep operating costs at a minimal level so retailers can still provide their goods and services to their customers at a reasonable cost. Transportation and fuel costs are going to be huge factors in solving that challenge. To combat them, we are taking a hard look at our routes and how we deliver product to find ways to be as efficient and effective as possible to avoid passing on any costs.

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

Grilling Fuel Papa’s Premium BBQ grilling products are manufactured using only 100% all-natural, virgin hardwood fibers from residuals from forest product manufacturers. This includes the recycling of old-growth orchards into some of the most popular grilling products. Papa’s Premium BBQ grilling produces their products with no fillers or binders to produce the cleanest, driest and hottest burning products available. A full line of grilling fuel products are now available in the warehouse, including grilling pellets, wood chips and chunks in apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, oak and pecan. Fiber Energy Products or 870-269-7930

Batteries DCB520 is one of the most powerful batteries in its class, the 20V MAX* DEWALT POWERSTACK ™ 5.0 Ah Battery utilizes revolutionary pouch cell technology to deliver 50% more power, 50% more work per charge and twice the lifespan. This battery is compatible with all DEWALT 20V MAX tools and chargers. Dewalt’s POWERSTACK 5.0 Ah Battery features an impact-resistant, rubber-overmolded base and includes a 3-LED fuel gauge, allowing users to check state-of-charge. Dewalt or 800-235-2000

Hose The STANLEY ® FATMAX ® features PolyFusion ™ technology, which makes the hose more flexible. It also offers ultimate weather performance and has a 500 psi burst strength with AntiKink ™ technology which erases all memory and won’t kink. The hose has anti-kink ends as well as three ply construction. It’s available in 25-foot, 50-foot, 75-foot, 100-foot and 150-foot lengths. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. or 800-488-6156

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Blower The M18 FUEL ™ Dual Battery Blower from Milwaukee delivers the highest constant power by maintaining performance throughout its battery pack discharge. The Dual Battery Blower reaches full throttle in under one second, boosting its productivity and control. There are also variable speed triggers for increased user control. Its POWERSTATE ™ Brushless Motor delivers 600 CFM and 145 mph. The blower requires two M18 ™ REDLITHIUM ™ batteries to operate and comes with tapered and flat nozzle attachments to optimize airflow. Milwaukee Tool or 800-729-3878

Interior Paint Sure Color ® is a new ready-to-use interior paint and primer line of 14 SKUs developed by Rust-Oleum ® . The pre-mixed colors are on-trend and popular interior decor colors, and the paint is extremely washable and scrubbable while featuring great color retention. The colors are available in an eggshell sheen, and the white and blacks are available in flat, eggshell and semi-gloss sheens. Rust-Oleum or 303-514-2641

Stop By Booth # 305

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Lightbulbs Several surveyed customers have areas where they do not have enough light, including garages, workshops, basements and outdoors. GT-Lite has created various lightbulbs to compensate for this disparity. Used in standard 120 volt open sockets, these corncob-shaped bulbs provide omni-directional light. GT-Lite’s standard bulbs offer 2,500-10,000 lumens, which is three to 12 times brighter than a standard 60 watt incandescent lightbulb. Garage Bulbs are also available and are great for garages, warehouses, utility rooms, basements and any other location that features a standard 120 volt light socket. GT Industrial Products or 720-726-1733

Fuel Gauge The Bernzomatic ® Digital Fuel Gauge indicates the amount of fuel remaining in portable propane tanks used with tabletop grills, portable heaters, lanterns, mosquito foggers and other propane-powered appliances. This pocket-sized device is easy to use whether you are out and about or in your garage. Worthington Industries or 913-362-9101




Backup Generator A permanently-installed Generac home backup generator protects your home automatically by delivering power directly to the home’s electrical system, backing up the entire home or just the most essential items. It runs on natural gas or liquid propane (LP) fuel and sits outside just like a central air conditioning unit. With Generac’s new 24kW generator homeowners can save up to $8,000 in product and installation costs when compared to competitive output products, while powering what is most important for each home or small business. The new 24kW Guardian unit packs a lot of power into a small package, taking up to 70% less space when compared to similar output products

Rust Converter The RUSTZILLA Marine Grade Rust Converter is easy to use and saves time and effort. It’s thick enough to tackle the toughest jobs but thin enough to get into small cracks. It is suitable for treating moving parts and lasts up to 10 years. RUSTZILLA turns rust to a black primed surface and works on all types of metals including stainless steel, steel and cast-iron. It dries fast with no residue and prevents future rust and corrosion while forming a protective barrier on the metal. RUSTZILLA won’t harm paint, plastic or rubber, and is nontoxic, noncorrosive and nonflammable. RUSTZILLA is water based and cleans up with soap and water. Global Energy Specialists or 850-485-0395

Generac Power Systems Inc. or 262-544-4811



Hose From the experts at Swan comes the XFlex ® Heavy Duty Garden Hose, a new garden hose that combines all the most sought-after features in garden hose functionality. Swan’s XFlex ® Heavy Duty Hose is lightweight, weighing only 3.9 pounds. It is compact, long-lasting, and has non-kink capabilities with the XFlex ™ Continuous Flow ™ Filament technology to supply landscapers and active home gardeners everywhere with the ideal hose for any project. Swan Products, LLC or 800-848-8707

Interior Paint Introducing the new Valspar ® complete lineup, the new robust paint assortment that features upgraded formulas, and sleek updated labels for interior and exterior paint products. The robust assortment offers products for both DIYers and pro audiences alike while maintaining the quality and support Valspar is known for. Sherwin-Williams or 877-825-7727

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7 Must-Haves for Your Hiring Page Attracting Potential Employees Online

F inding help can be difficult even in a good job market, so when jobs are tight, adding a hiring page to your website is an effective way to attract quality job applicants. To get you started, we’ve created a checklist of seven must-have details a hiring page should include. Share this information with your web developer to get your hiring page launched and those open jobs filled.

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Share what makes your company a great place to be employed. COMPANY CULTURE 1



Craft informational and robust job postings that appeal to applicants.





Give the reasons employees love working for you.

Clearly show what jobs roles are currently open.





Make it easy for potential employees to apply.

Provide a way for applicants to ask questions.



Let applicants know what they can expect as an employee.

Booth # 460

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Shop the 2023 Blish-Mize Spring Market and connect with vendors, other retailers and the Blish-Mize team on the show floor and at Market events.

Savings Time Stock Up and Save at the Spring Buying Market E xplore deals and discounts, new products and learning

Your Spring Market Checklist This list includes deals and events for customers attending the 2023 Spring Buying Market.

opportunities—along with extended floor time—at the 2023 Blish-Mize Spring Buying Market, which will take place March 16-18 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kansas. In response to the results of a recent post-market survey, Blish-Mize has adapted its 2023 Spring Buying Market to better meet your needs. The market will feature more floor time, great pricing and many chances to engage with vendors.

Traffic Builders Coupons

ShowStarters Surprise Buys Featured New Products The P.O.G. Stop The Aisle Openers Pallet Buys Business Workshops Plinko

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BOOTH # 540

Market Attendee Terms Attend our Spring Buying Market and receive 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. Use Your SmartBook Your SmartBook is available online and in print and can help you make smart buying decisions before and during the Spring 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.

The SmartBook is broken into three groups of items. • Key selling “Market Featured” items. • New items Blish-Mize has added from vendors in the last year. • The balance of the items you have purchased, sorted in quantity order.

Contact your sales representative or visit to receive your personalized SmartBook and start planning your time at the Market.

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

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. Make an appointment to meet your sales rep at the convention center. See venue information and receive notifications for events and product demonstrations. Create a personal to-do list so you can remember to meet with a vendor or find more information on a product.



Market App •

The free apps are available for download on iOS and Android devices using Google Play or the App Store.

Search “Blish-Mize” or scan the following QR codes to download the apps.

Use the Blish-Mize and Blish-Mize Market apps to make the most of your time at the Spring Market. View the product catalog, place orders and more.

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TIER 1 $3,000 - $8,499 3% OFF TOTAL ORDER

TIER 2 $8,500 - $15,999 4% OFF TOTAL ORDER

TIER 3 $16,000 - $35,000+ 5% OFF TOTAL ORDER


Tier 1 - Starter package Includes order related social media posts and access to digital Tarter assets through our marketing team.

Tier 2 - 3% allowance Includes starter package plus one custom designed direct mail campaign, postage paid from marketing allowance. Access to physical displays where applicable.

Tier 3 - 3% allowance + Includes lower tier support plus a bonus mail campaign and one on one follow up and consult from a Tarter sales and marketing specialist.

Limited time specials run from March 13-March 31. Marketing allowance offered is subject to change and may be discussed between you and your Tarter representative. It may include both digital and physical options focused on products dealer has ordered. Price of marketing support packagemust not exceed 3%of order total. Consultation availabilitymay vary by account and location. Designs must be created and supplied by a Tarter Marketing Specialist; third party designs will not be approved for marketing allowance on special orders.

Stellar Speakers Attend Business Workshops to Improve Your Business

Business Workshop One Who: Dan Tratensek, NHPA When: 10 a.m. March 17

Business Workshop Two Who: 8 Brands With New Unique Items When: 3 p.m. March 17 What: New Item Showcase

What: Approachable Technology Solutions to GrowYour Reach and Streamline Operations

Consumers today expect to use technology in nearly every aspect of their lives, especially in retail experiences. You may run a small business, but you don’t need to have a small digital footprint. In this presentation, NHPA’s Dan Tratensek will discuss several scalable solutions that are focused on improving internal operations, guiding marketing initiatives, simplifying inventory management and more.

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 and receive a free hat and a stamp for the app prize game giveaway.

Browse These Areas Stop by these special areas at the Spring Buying Market to discover new products, special merchandising strategies and Market-only deals. Traffic Builders Browse the Traffic Builders products chosen by Blish-Mize to maximize margins and strengthen a customer’s product diversity. These special deals are only available during Market hours. What’s New! This area has a small sampling of items that have been added to our warehouse in the past 12 months. Customer can place orders in their SmartBook. Hardware House Visit the Hardware House booth #740 to view a full lineup of products available to Blish-Mize customers, including fixtures, locksets and more. Learn more about Hardware House’s latest offerings on Page 40.

The P.O.G. Stop This area of the Market highlights popular assortments and merchandising tips for appealing displays. Take advantage of The P.O.G. Stop spiffs, deals and deep discounts on the latest product lines.

The Aisle Openers Enjoy special endcap displays, impulse displays and pricing at this new Market area designed to delight.

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Booth # 112

New to You Discover New Opportunities at the 2023 Blish-Mize Spring Buying Market

Sponsor Event To participate in the Thursday and Friday night drawings, customers must visit sponsoring vendor booths to find out how to qualify for an exclusive prize ticket.

The Aisle Openers This end cap and impulse area features both stocking and non-stocking vendor displays and is located on the show floor.

The P.O.G. Stop This area located on the show floor features stocking vendor displays.

Traffic Builders There will be over 50 product stackout mini-pallets to be featured on the concourse as you enter the show floor. These will be available all weekend at the Market.

Bracket Challenge Customers must visit sponsoring vendor booths to find out how to qualify for an exclusive prize ticket.


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Following the 2022 Fall Market, Blish-Mize surveyed customers to learn more about what you want to see at the biannual buying events. Based on feedback from the survey, we’ve extended the buying hours for the 2023 Spring Market! See the updated schedule here and make a plan to spend more time exploring deals and meeting with vendors on the Market floor.

THURSDAY 4-7 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Showstarters Event 4 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market opens 4-6:30 p.m. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sponsor Event 6:45 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . Sponsor Event exclusive prize drawing 7 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market closes FRIDAY 8 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market opens 10 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business workshop Approachable Technology Solutions to Grow Your Reach and Streamline Operations. Presenter: Dan Tratensek, NHPA 1-5 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plinko 3 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Business workshop New Item Showcase

5:30-7:30 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sponsor Event 7:30 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cash & Prize Drawings 7:45 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . Sponsor Event exclusive prize drawing 5 p.m.-8 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dinner and drinks on showfloor 8 p.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market closes SATURDAY 8 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market opens 8-10 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Surprise Buys event 10:05 a.m. . . . . . . . Surprise Buys drawing from orders placed at the event 10:15 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cash and prize drawings 10:25 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . Bracket Challenge game prize drawing 10:30 a.m. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Market closes

Hardware House, LLC

In stock

update your space with the new modern hardware house faucet!

Booth #740 See the new faucet in and receive a Hardware House Hat

Limited Quantities

complete your SPRING market hat collection with a hardware house hat!

*Color Subject to change

Item # 25-6162

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Owner of River Valley Supply LLC, Spencer Linville, and his wife, Kara, pose for a family photo with their four children, Nola, Samuel, Emily and Audrey.

Dedicated to Family River Valley Supply Owner Receives a Surprise With Fourth Child

T en years ago, River Valley Supply LLC, a closed hardware store in Douglass, Kansas, at the age of 23. Spencer Linville purchased

He opened the store and contacted Blish-Mize, who had supplied the store before the previous owners closed the business. “I relied heavily on Blish-Mize in the early days,” Spencer says. “I honestly had no idea what I was doing, but knew I could do it with their help.” As the business grew, so did Spencer’s confidence. The community of Douglass, a town of less than 2,000 people, also rallied behind their local

hardware store. Sporting 3,000 square feet of retail space and several warehouses for larger tstock items, River Valley Supply not only serves the town of Douglass, but also the surrounding rural areas that have no dedicated hardware store. “We offer deliveries within 75 miles of our store. It’s one way we’ve used customer service to grow,” Spencer says. “We can deliver to those looking

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for pieces for a simple project or even those doing something bigger, like redoing a deck.” An Unexpected Surprise After settling in at River Valley Supply, Spencer and his wife, Cara, decided to start a family. Their first three children, Samuel, 6, Emily, 4, and Audrey, 2, arrived as healthy babies with no surprises. “Each child has been happy and healthy and over 9 pounds at birth,” Spencer says. “For each of them we made it to the hospital on time, got settled in and my wife gave birth with the help of the nurses.” However, their fourth child had other plans. Five days past the due date, at 40 and a half weeks, Cara’s water broke at home. Shortly afterwards, the couple started the 30-mile drive to the midwife facility in Wichita. Only a few minutes into the drive, it was obvious they weren’t going to make it. Spencer pulled over and helped deliver his fourth child in the family van on the side of the road. “I called 911 and let them know my wife was giving birth to our child right then and there. They dispatched emergency responders and talked me through what to do,” Spencer says. “Cara was the real champion. She didn’t even bat an eye, just sat up and gave birth to our fourth child.”

Shortly after giving birth, an officer arrived to help Spencer and Cara with the birthing process. The officer was surprised to see two smiling parents and a bundled-up baby resting in their arms. The officer escorted the couple to the midwife facility to make sure both mom and baby were happy and healthy. “We didn’t know the gender of the baby when she was born. It was dark, cold and very early in the morning,” Spencer says. “We got to the facility and when they escorted Cara back to the birthing rooms, we checked and discovered we had a baby girl. We say she was five days late and 15 minutes early.” The couple named their fourth child Nola, who was the biggest of the four kids at 9 pounds 8 ounces. Fatherly Advice With four kids, Spencer does his best to balance his family and his business. From hiring a few full-time employees to incorporating his family into the store, Spencer is excited to come to work every day to support his family and the community they are a part of. “Even though Samuel is only 6, he comes to the store every Tuesday afternoon to help unload the Blish-Mize truck. His favorite part is showing customers around the store. He


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knows where everything is and will jump at the opportunity to take them to what they need,” Spencer says. “Emily, who’s 4, wants to be just like her older brother, but she’s still young. So we have a coloring table she can sit at so she can be in the store when Samuel is working with me.” The community has also rallied around the Linville family, supporting their business and community events. “We hosted a lemonade stand over the summer,” Spencer says. “All the kids got to be involved and tons of community members came out to support them and enjoy a refreshing cup of lemonade when they came to the store.” With his family so involved in River Valley Supply, Spencer says he is incredibly grateful for the community support he has received over the last 10 years and especially to Blish-Mize for their help with merchandise, store resets and guidance as he learned the hardware industry. While he admits it can be hard to find a balance between family and work, Spencer’s advice is to make family a priority and to enjoy each day. “I do what I can to support my family financially, and while the kids want me home more often, they will understand the sacrifices in the future. Until then, they can come to the store, color pages, and spend time with me,” Spencer says. “I make sure I am home every night to eat dinner with them and play until it’s time for bed. Once the kids are asleep, I often go back to work to finish things up. Each choice makes a difference, and I am so proud of my family. They will do amazing things in the future.”

Samuel, 6, sports his Blish-Mize apron at the Fall Market in September 2022.

Visit Booth 346


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Seizing Success Danek Hardware and Lumber Co. Embraces Tradition and Change

Dolly Danek and her children Greg Danek, Teresa Nemec, Michelle Eckert and John Danek are the primary stockholders of the business.

D anek Hardware and Lumber Co., located in a rapidly growing Jarrell, Texas, can trace its roots back to 1909. Originally Jarrell Hardware Co., the operation was founded to support the newly formed and thriving farming community.

Ownership of the 5,000-square-foot store changed hands multiple times until its purchase in 1954 by local farmer John F. Danek, who changed the store’s name to reflect his family name. John turned over the store’s daily operations to his son Emil J. Danek in 1967, who began working at the store after high school. Emil and his wife Dolly officially purchased the store in 1972 and Emil continued to come to the store every day until his passing on March 31, 2022. Currently, Dolly Danek and her children Greg Danek, Teresa Nemec, Michelle Eckert and John Danek are the primary stockholders of the business.

Greg, John and Teresa handle the day-to-day operations, but Dolly still comes to the store every day for a few hours. Growth and Goals Jarrell has historically been a small community, located along Interstate Highway 35 between Austin and Waco, Texas. In recent years, farmers have been selling off land, resulting in subdivisions popping up in the area in large numbers. “Jarrell is a rapidly growing community,” Teresa says. “We have had the biggest housing growth in our county and have been nationally recognized as one of the fastest growing areas in the country.”

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suggestions from our customers.” In-person, friendly customer service is paired with a drive to help. “Our slogan is ‘When it’s time to fix, see us!’ and so when our customers walk in with a problem, we listen closely and do everything in our power to provide a solution,” Teresa says. “We make sure every customer who comes in is able to find what they are looking for, and if they do not, we make special orders and get it to them as soon as possible.” Products and Projects While farming is what brought the operation to fruition, the rock quarry industry drives much of the store’s sales today. “We sell a large amount of lumber, hydraulic hoses and other products to support the rock quarry industry in our area,” Teresa says. “While they make up a good majority of our customer base and play a factor in what we order, we value all of our customers and strive to provide any product they need.”

The growth has brought competition. The nearest big-box store is located about 14 miles away in Georgetown, Texas, but a chain store recently opened in Jarrell and sells some hardlines. “While we are currently the only hardware store in town, we know it is only a matter of time before a big-box store calls Jarrell home too,” Teresa says. “Having been here since 1954, we do have a loyal customer base and hope to continue earning their business as the town grows. We hope to gain the loyalty of our recent influx of new customers as well.” When it comes to serving customers both old and new, customer service sets the operation apart from its competitors and continues to help it build relationships with shoppers. “While we strive to keep prices affordable and lower than our competitors when we are able, we also make a point to greet each and every person who enters our store and ask how we can help them,” Teresa says. “Additionally, we ask for feedback and take

The rock quarry industry drives the majority of Danek Hardware and Lumber Co.’s sales.

Stop by Booth # 440

Danek Hardware and Lumber Co. can trace its roots back to 1909, but got its current name in 1954 when it was purchased by local farmer John F. Danek.

Booth # 518

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“I know it was just material objects, but that building held so many memories.” The Danek family committed to rebuilding and salvaging the business, constructing a new store following the floor plan of the original building as closely as possible. The family held a grand re-opening in 2010 to celebrate the slightly larger 7,500-square-foot store, along with a few more additions. “We were still using handwritten tickets until the store burned to the ground,” Teresa says. “With the new building, we were able to install a POS system, along with a camera monitoring system and central heat. Now we have heat in the winter, which is nice.” In December 2018, reasons for change came to the operation again when the company’s main supplier went out of business. “We were looking for a new supplier, and Jason Ealand, our representative from our previous supplier recommended Blish-Mize,” Teresa says. “We took his advice and ended up partnering with them. We were really impressed they were willing to come this far south.” The relationship has been fruitful, with the family regularly attending Blish-Mize’s biannual hardware shows. “Blish-Mize’s communication is good, their deliveries are timely and the customer support via our representative is great,” Teresa says. “We have been very happy with this partnership.”

Most of the store’s advertising is executed through word-of-mouth, and merchandising is completed with the intent to showcase new products. “We like to have new items on display in the main walkway of the store to draw our customers’ attention,” Teresa says. “We also use new item stickers to call attention to fresh product.” The products on display in the main walkway also serve as a helpful reminder to customers. “We rotate merchandise, often seasonally, to remind our customers of jobs they may need to complete,” Teresa says. “For example, in springtime, we put water hoses, ant killer, wasp spray and any other spring essentials our customers might need together on display.” Changes and Chances The business owners pride themselves on the old-school hardware store atmosphere, although the original building was lost to a fire in April 2009. The fire was suspected to be electrical, though the source is unknown. Occurring overnight, the fire spared human injuries, yet the 100-year-old building finished with a shiplap ceiling, block pattern exterior sheet metal siding and longleaf pine wood floors was damaged beyond repair. “It was like losing a family member,” Dolly says.

Booth # 243

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Community and Customers Danek Hardware and Lumber Co. is active in the community and is involved with various organizations including the local National FFA Organization chapter and livestock association along with committees within the school district and church. “We give back to the community as much as we can,” Teresa says. “We support the schools throughout the year with sponsorships, both financial and physical, and participate in their parades.” The Danek family loves what the community brings to their operation as well. “We love the customers and what they bring to us: the small-town chats, the impromptu meetings when they run into someone in the store and the suggestions they may have,” Teresa says. “We are a small business and we love being a part of the community and providing for their needs. We take pride in our name and the customer service we provide. At the end of the day, we want our customers to walk away satisfied with our service and the product they purchased. When we are helping our customers find what they need, we are carrying on the family legacy.”

Danek Hardware and Lumber Co. is involved with various local organizations and strives to give back to the community as much as possible.

Stop by Booth # 606

The Danek family loves their customers and enjoys chatting with them and taking any suggestions they may have for the business.

Booth # 708

Stop by Booth # 805

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The Danek family hopes to continue to carry on the family legacy by helping customers find what they need and supporting their rapidly growing community in Jarrell, Texas.

Stop by Booth# 310

Booth # 348

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# 846


Maximize Your Profits How to Make the Most Out of Your Merchandising W hen it comes to merchandising your business, it

Checkout Display Showcase low-priced items that make good impulse purchases near the checkout area. These items remind customers of something they may have forgotten, appeal to their desire to save money and create a sense of urgency to buy right away.

can be an overwhelming concept to tackle. Setting merchandising standards as well as creating consistency throughout your business helps build your brand. It also helps customers recognize your brand more easily and lead them to become loyal customers who shop at your business continuously. In order to create a uniform merchandising and branding strategy for your business, technology, communication and teamwork are all equally important. Learn how to create uniformity, consistency and interest in your merchandising. Creating Intriguing Displays Because merchandising plays a critical role in the overall success of a business, it’s important to emphasize it in your operation. Merchandising improves profitability by generating more margin dollars, controls costs by improving the productivity of the salesfloor and employees, and increases sales by making a store appealing to customers. Here are some effective ways to merchandise various sections of your business.

Stack Display Bring extra focus to the product and send a message to customers that the store has plenty of that particular product in stock.

Dump Bins These full and organized bins have straightforward and vibrant signage, catching customers’ eyes and appealing to their desire to save time and money.

Video Demo Use a small monitor in front of a product to further enhance the item on the shelf or on an endcap. Doing this allows customers to see firsthand how the product may be helpful.

Bulk Lumber Storage One intriguing way to store sheets of bulk lumber is on rolling carts so customers don’t have to load their own carts and can roll the cart to their vehicle and load it directly.

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Importance of Cross-Merchandising When it comes to merchandising, where your items are on the salesfloor can have a big impact on how well that item sells. Each product belongs to its own department, but don’t hesitate to switch things up by pulling products from the aisle where they are normally placed and moving them to where shoppers don’t expect to see them. This is cross-merchandising. Strategically locating certain products in multiple locations across your store can dramatically increase sales and offer convenience to your customers. Cross-merchandising works when you put the right products in the right place. For example, one strategy for cross-merchandising is for add-on sales and impulse buys. A customer may see an item when it’s not where it normally is and remember that they need to purchase it or will purchase it right away because it’s easily available and present. Using insights from retailers, read about three effective ways to cross-merchandise in your store.

Look for something unique Not every product you suggest as an add-on sale needs to be part of your core hardware mix. For example, near the outdoor and gardening section, offering sunscreen will encourage customers to purchase it since they know they will be outside for extended periods of time.


Stop by our booth # 418 2023 Blish-Mize Spring Buying Market

Demos done in booth!

Encourage a project One of the most effective ways to use

Embellish pallet displays Pallet displays in a wide aisle of the store are already guaranteed to catch shoppers’ attention, so make the most of them. For example, a simple wooden frame holds a sidewinder, typically used on endcaps. These merchandisers can then be stocked with items that pair with the product on the pallet and they don’t take up much space. Since pallet displays convey a low-priced image, shoppers may be more likely to add an extra item to their carts if they believe they are already saving money. This method is also a great way to promote new or related items from the same category.



cross-merchandising is to promote project sales. Merchandisers, such as clipstrips, can help combine two products that might be used together. Product signage can provide a checklist of items a customer needs, too. While product checklists don’t get actual products in front of the customer, they give them important information, save space and will help drive customers into other parts of the store.

ardline Strategies Spring 2023.qxp_Layout 1 12/21/22 3:20 PM Page 1

on margin + coupons, featured items, quantity buys, and plan-o-grams.

Visit Booth 622 for in-booth only specials.

When it comes to merchandising, there are five points to keep in mind, or the five P’s as they are sometimes called. These will help keep your business on track when it comes to merchandising, whether you have one store or multiple. Best Merchandising Practices

Promotion Use store promotional spaces like endcaps and stack outs, in-store signage, print ads, digital marketing or any other effective promotional activities, to improve your merchandising performance.

Price Maintaining pricing accuracy and ensuring the price is acceptable to the customer in your market is vital to customer satisfaction. People Investing in training and ensuring your sales associates are knowledgeable about products and projects is a key differentiator.

Presentation From store layout and planogramming to defined and appealing merchandising standards, the more effective product presentation is, the more likely the customer is to purchase.

Product Without the right mix of products, the item selection and assortment will struggle with the rest of the merchandising throughout the store.

Booth # 640

Stop by Booth # 315

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Creating Effective Displays

KEEP AT EYE LEVEL Display the most profitable items between the belt and eye level. This is the bestselling height on any display.

THINK VERTICALLY Display similar goods up and down along the gondola rather than stretching them out along a shelf.

FILL SPACE Display as much merchandise on the shelf as possible so you can avoid backroom stock.

MANAGE PRICES No display is fully effective or complete until the merchandise is priced and consistent with what is in your POS.

UTILIZE SIGNAGE Use point-of-purchase signs to call attention to popular items in each department.

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Booth # 304

Booth # 304

Hardlines Strategies • Fall 2022 39


The Variety of Hardware House Stop by Booth #740 to Make Your Selections H ardware House is a key vendor of vanities, faucets, lighting, locks and other fixtures for Blish-Mize

customers, and there is no time like the Spring Market to explore the new setups. Whether you want to check out the latest catalog or talk to a Hardware House representative about how to update your in-store displays, this is a must-stop area of the Market floor. For more information about Hardware House offerings, visit or talk to your Blish-Mize sales representative about how to get started.

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New Stain & Seal colors in the warehouse


What’s Your Market Uniform?

Bi-annual Blish-Mize markets are known for being family-friendly events. At the Fall 2022 market, we spotted some next-generation retailers who were excited to show off their Blish-Mize apparel. To be featured in a future issue of Strategies , submit your market family photos to Cindy Kane at or find a member of the Blish-Mize team at the Spring 2023 Market to share them on-site!

Thanks for Everything, Greg Lutz

S: What will you miss about Blish-Mize and the home improvement industry? GL: I will miss learning something new each day. In operations, reacting quickly and adjusting as things changed put us in a position to be really creative. That was fun and challenging for me. I will also miss the challenge of getting the job done each day. Some days we were short staffed or the volume was high, and it took all of us to get the job done, but it always felt good to know we took care of all customers to the best of our ability.

Strategies (S) : Tell us about your tenure with Blish-Mize Greg Lutz (GL): I started at Blish-Mize in February 1999. Blish-Mize is the third company I worked at after graduating from Kansas State with a degree in marketing and a minor in management. I have been in operations management for 43 years. It’s been a great run for me here at Blish-Mize, and it’s been an honor to serve as executive vice president of operations for the majority of my time here. S: What is one of your favorite memories from your time with the company? GL: I loved working with the staff and customers. Blish-Mize has a great staff and getting to know the customers was awesome. I liked when distribution center employees came up with suggestions to improve the process and working with them to make it happen. The sense of accomplishment and pride was very rewarding for all involved. S: What are you looking forward to most about retirement? GL: I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and working on projects around the house—and of course—golfing and fishing.

Greg Lutz started at Blish-Mize in February 1999 and was executive vice president of operations for the majority of his time at the company.

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