Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Do it Best Corp., Part II

Yesterday, June 28 marked a significant milestone for Do it Best Corp. June 28, 1945 saw the beginning of what would  become today's Do it Best. Yesterday we shared Part I of this great history story - today we share Part II! P.S. Pictured here is Arnold Gerberding, the founder of the company. 

...Another notable accomplishment of Wolf’s was his leadership in charitable involvement. He was one of the co-founders of the
Fort Wayne and Northeastern Indiana chapter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and served as the president of the national board of directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. His legacy of volunteerism continues today, as the company continues its philanthropic commitment by supporting Habitat for Humanity and the United Way, holding blood drives for the Red Cross, and assisting with the PBS pledge drive.

Mike McClelland succeeded Don Wolf as president in 1992. Having come to HWI in 1974, his focus on getting the most done in the least amount of time was a key element of his leadership of the company. In 1995, McClelland hired IBM and Purdue University to conduct a survey of the membership to determine what they needed to grow and be successful.  The result of that survey was the Do it Best Vision, which provided over 30 new or enhanced programs and services for HWI members.

In 1998 HWI combined with Our Own Hardware, a move that brought together the two most member-focused co-ops in the industry. The histories of both co-ops are closely intertwined. When Arnold Gerberding was researching co-ops in the hardware industry, he talked with George Hall, the founder of Our Own Hardware, to get ideas. As a result of this combination and a general change in the nature of its business, HWI changed its name to Do it Best Corp. to tie together all its members, truck fleet, store designs, and advertising.

 In 2002, Mike McClelland retired and Bob Taylor took over as president. Taylor grew up in his family’s chain of hardware stores in Virginia Beach, Va., eventually becoming the president of Taylor’s Do it center®. Through Taylor’s broad experience, he continues to sharpen the retail focus of Do it Best Corp. and its programs and services. Under Taylor’s direction, the company has initiated programs like Signature Store Design, which provides member stores with turnkey programs to develop branding and store design. Under his leadership, the company has also expanded and improved the company’s web sites and online catalogs, making orders easier for members and customers. Another significant enhancement has been implementation of a voice-directed order picking system in the company’s warehouses that has improved order accuracy and efficiency. 

Today, Do it Best Corp. has sales of $2.46 billion and is Indiana’s largest privately owned business. Do it Best Corp. is the only full-service member-owned distributor of hardware and building materials products in the industry, serving 4,100 members across the United States and 47 countries. The service and dedication of its 1,400 employees still exemplify the member-first philosophy established by founder Arnold Gerberding.

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