The Right Tools: PRO Hardware Names 2009 Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award Winner and 2008 PRO Hardware Retailers of the Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For More Information Contact:

Shari Kalbach, PRO Group, Inc.
(303) 792-3000
shari.kalbach@pro-group.com  or

Ruth Furman, Publicist
(702) 255-8288
ruth@ruthfurman.com

Denver, August 3, 2009, Denver-based PRO Hardware has named Warehouse Sales & PRO Hardware of Sharon, Pennsylvania, the winner of the 2009 Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award. The store is also a 2008 PRO Retailer of the Year for The Bostwick-Braun Company, which is located in Toledo, Ohio.

Warehouse Sales & PRO Hardware has become a true one-stop-shopping destination for residents of Sharon. Thanks to the vision of owners Mike and Sonja Lisac, the store has distinguished itself from nearby corporate competition, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. In part, it’s because of the unrivalled customer service. The moment customers walk in the door they’re greeted, guided to what they’re looking for and even offered help in fixing parts.

The mission of Warehouse Sales & PRO Hardware fits well with the philosophy of The Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award. The award, presented annually to a PRO Hardware retailer, recognizes superior commitment to the principles and ideals of effective hardware merchandising developed by PRO Hardware founder Paul L. Cosgrave.

The 17,500 square-foot store has a rich history in Sharon, and has been a vital part of the community since 1951. Mike Lisac purchased the store in 2000, after spending eleven years there as an employee. One of the changes he made was to move the hardware business from Do-It-Best (HWI) to The Bostwick-Braun Company and become a part of the PRO Hardware program. He’s since helped spread the use of the PRO Hardware logo, whether it’s on the front of his store, in advertising, or on the racecar of the local driver he sponsors.

What really distinguishes Warehouse Sales & PRO Hardware is its extensive array of offerings that appeal to a variety of interests that go above and beyond what’s expected from a hardware store. For example, the store offers special orders, screen repair and cutting, key cutting, window repair, pipe cutting and rethreading, and delivery. Additionally, the store offers more unique services, such as selling 24-packs of soda to restaurant and bar owners, regripping golf clubs, and selling used work clothes to steel mill workers at a discounted price. How did they get so diverse? Store personnel regularly ask customers what they’d like to see, and then they add it to their inventory.

But Warehouse Sales & PRO Hardware’s services aren’t limited to the store. The business has also become a vital part of the community. Sharon, which has a population of 20,000, is an old steel mill town and certain areas have become run down. Mike, who also serves on the city’s economic development commission, purchased a number of abandoned buildings and puts his staff to work refurbishing the properties. It’s an important part of returning a sense of vitality to the historic downtown area.

Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award Finalist

The 2009 Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award finalist is Burgess Feed & PRO Hardware, in Benton, Tennessee. The store is also a 2008 PRO Retailer of the Year for Wallace Hardware Company, which is located in Morristown, Tennessee.

Burgess Feed & PRO Hardware is truly a family business. The 41-year-old store is being run by the family’s third generation. It’s owned by Steve and Dana Burgess and managed by their daughter, Stephanie Burgess Everett.

In 2002, at age 28, Stephanie began working for the family store fulltime. She thought she would spend a few years learning the ropes, but then, a living nightmare set in. Her father, Steve, had cancer and needed her to assume full management of the store. She jumped in head-first, and as her father went through treatment and made his way to recovery, Stephanie learned to not only manage, but expand and improve the family business.

Located in the agriculture-driven town of Benton, Burgess Feed & PRO Hardware fills its community needs, including feed, hardware, paint, chemicals and there’s even a Stihl Concept Tool Store within. And they’re not done yet. Over the next five years, Stephanie hopes to double the size of the business, double the margins and develop a home center concept.

2008 PRO Hardware Retailers of the Year

The 2008 PRO Retailer of the Year for Horizon Distribution is a second-generation family business, Brewster, Washington-based Brewster PRO Hardware. Jim and Shirl McChristian excel in customer service at their small town, downtown hardware store that is immaculately merchandised. Brewster is a rural, agricultural-type market and in this tough economy, Brewster does what they do exceedingly well - competing with nearby big boxes. Brewster PRO Hardware is a convenience hardware store done right. The store will be honored at the Horizon Distribution Market in Yakima, Washington in September 2009.

The 2008 Long-Lewis Hardware Company PRO Retailer of the Year is the successful, Hanceville, Alabama-based Mann’s Home & Garden PRO Hardware. Sales at Mann’s PRO Hardware are up 52 percent, and owners, Charles and Linda Mann, credit the PRO Program. They have expanded into hardware and grown into a community staple from their roots as a garden center. Their loyalty and commitment to the community is what sets them apart as the Birmingham, Alabama-based Long-Lewis PRO Retailer of the Year.

PRO Hardware Retailers of the Year are selected based upon merchandising, inventory management, PRO key supplier support, advertising, store identification, sales and financial performance.

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Headquartered in Denver, PRO Group, Inc. www.pro-group.com is a merchandising and marketing organization with purchasing power exceeding $3 billion through its 40 Member Distributors.

Note: Photos of award winners available upon request to Elissa Motley, PRO Group, Inc. at elissa.motley@pro-group.com (303) 792-3000.


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