Do it Best Corp. is truly a great American success story. What began with little more than an idea in 1945 has grown into a multi-billion dollar company. Its success is due to a unique tradition of hard work, innovation, and determination.
Do it Best Corp. began as the vision of Arnold Gerberding. Born in
Gerberding was intrigued by the local farm co-ops and started investigating how the co-op concept -- where many stores buying together could get better deals from vendors than they could separately – might work in the hardware industry. In the late 1930s, he immersed himself in developing the concept for a new co-op that would make independent retailers the company’s shareholders who would receive a share of the company’s profits as a yearly rebate.
On June 28, 1945, Gerberding assembled the first meeting of the Hardware Wholesalers, Inc. (HWI) hardware co-op. By the end of that year, the co-op included nearly 100 members. Ten acres of property for the company’s headquarters on
After building HWI from merely an idea to a major company in the hardware distribution industry, founder Arnold Gerberding retired in 1967. The growth that occurred in this time was phenomenal; HWI expanded to over 200 members. In HWI’s first year in 1946, sales were $171,000; in 1967, sales were over $35 million and rebates to members were nearly $1.2 million. In the late 1960s, HWI faced challenges from discount and chain stores. To keep the company growing and moving forward, HWI turned to Don Wolf as the second president of HWI.