Taking Care of Business

Twice a month, Dan Tratensek, executive vice president of NHPA, sits down with experts, wholesale executives and retailers to get the latest insights on the industry.

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Latest Episodes

Episode 50 – Garrett Schwegler
On this installment, we talk to E-comm expert Garrett Schwegler of Lucidworks about how more consumers are embracing contactless commerce and what small to mid-size retailers can do to react to these changing demands.

Episode 49 – Brian Misenheimer
On today’s episode we talk with the folks from Live Oak Bank about how they can help small businesses through the SBA process. We also chat with NHPA’s Melanie Moul about what’s in store for the National Hardware Show and NHPA All-Industry Conference.

Episode 48 – Dave Gowan
If you’re looking at selling your business, or growing your business, you might want to listen in to this episode as we talk to NHPA’s Dave Gowan who tells us all about the recently launched NHPA Retail Marketplace.

Episode 47 – Bill Brunelle
Today we visit with friend of the show, Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand, who talks about how locally owned businesses are doing across the country and discuss the sixth annual America’s Main Streets contest that is getting ready to kick off in September.

Episode 46 – Mike MacKay
Today we talk to Mike MacKay, owner of Vassar Building Center in Vassar, Michigan. Together with his wife, Brenda, the MacKay’s made the decision to build their dream store right before the pandemic hit. Learn how they worked with their distributor to push through the challenges to unveil an innovative store that doubled the size of their business.

Episode 45 – Stacy Mitchell
In this episode, we circle back with Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self Reliance to catch up on some of the latest developments in her group’s efforts to lobby for pro-small business initiatives.

Episode 44 – Scott Reynolds
On this episode we talk about all the things that keep you up at night — the emerging threats that could forever alter your business. Our guest is Scott Reynolds, CEO of American Hardware and Lumber Insurance and he is going to share some tips that just might help you sleep a little better.

Episode 43 – Rob Stolzer
On this edition of Taking Care of Business we lighten it up a little bit and talk to Rob Stolzer, who recently launched a website (www.misteroswald.com) dedicated to honoring the legacy of the long-running Hardware Retailing comic strip.

Episode 42 – Grant Farnsworth
On this week’s episode, we connect back with Grant Farnsworth to get updates on the industry outlook for the last half of the year, discuss how consumers’ buying habits are changing and learn a little about how vaccinations are impacting shopping patterns.

Episode 41 – John Vanderpool
With the surge in home improvement projects and spending, paint and coatings are center stage on most home owner’s to-do lists. On this edition of Taking Care of Business we talk to someone who knows a thing or two about paint, John Vanderpool, True Value’s Divisional President of Paint and General Manufacturing. We touch on supply chain, color trends and what it takes to run a profitable paint and sundry operation.

Episode 40 – Beth Casson
Normally around this time of year, we would all be getting ready to head to the National Hardware Show. While we won’t be heading to Vegas this May, in this episode we talk with Beth Casson from the National Hardware Show to learn about all the changes at the industry’s biggest event and what to expect in October when the show will take place.

Episode 39 – Dent Johnson
On this episode of Taking Care of Business we are talking supply chain and ketchup with Dent Johnson, Do it Best’s vice president of merchandising. Johnson gives us the low-down on what’s caused the kinks in the supply chain, where we are headed and how commodity prices could impact project demand in the coming months.

Episode 38 – Scott Wright & Katie McHone-Jones
In this episode, Dan talks to Scott Wright, Executive Director of NHPA’s Retail Leadership Institute, and Katie McHone-Jones, NHPA’s Event and Retail Support manager, about this year’s Young Retailer of the Year honorees. They talk about the impact of the awards, what they represent and what everyone can learn from watching them

Episode 37 – Dave Gowan
On this episode of Taking Care of Business we talk Business by the Numbers as we sit down with NHPA’s CFO Dave Gowan and discuss the importance of managing your business using Key Performance Indicators. We also talk about how retailers can participate in this year’s Cost of Doing Business Study.

Episode 36 – Grant Farnsworth

It’s been just over a year since COVID-19 began tearing through our lives. In this episode of Taking Care of Business we talk with Grant Farnsworth of The Farnsworth Group to get a better idea of how consumers’ home improvement habits have changed over the past 12 months and what we might expect to change in the months ahead.

Episode 35 – Mick Terrell

This week on the Taking Care of Business podcast, we talk once again to our legal expert Mick Terrell to get some insights about what employers need to know about the COVID vaccine and their workforce. Can vaccines be required? Do you have to pay for your employees to get vaccine? Mick will weigh in on all this and more.

Episode 34 – Dan Harris & Jake Smith

This week on Taking Care of Business, Dan has a chat with two guests. The first is Dan Harris, owner of Palos Ace Hardware and Lemont Ace Hardware. He is also the current chairman of NHPA. The second guest is Jake Smith, owner of Jared’s Ace Hardware who is also the vice chairman of NHPA.

Episode 33 – Jonathan Mize
In this episode of Taking Care of Business, Dan chats with Jonathan Mize, the CEO and president of Blish-Mize Co., to discuss the distributor’s 150th anniversary and how it has adapted to doing business in this new era. We will also talk about the company’s upcoming Dealer Market, which is scheduled as an in-person event this March.

Episode 32 – Stacy Mitchell
In 2020, the concept of supporting small businesses took the spotlight. So as we start 2021, we sat down with Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self Reliance to talk about how we can translate that heightened support for small business into action. We also learn what independent retailers can do to help level the playing field with the big corporate retailers.

Episode 31 – Bob Cutter & LeAnn Day
Rounding out the year for the Taking Care of Business podcast, we welcome NHPA President and CEO Bob Cutter and LeAnn Day, NHPA’s executive director of paint and decorating programs, to talk about the association’s expanded membership and what is in store for hardware, paint and decorating retailers in 2021.

Episode 30 – Jim Robisch
In our penultimate episode of 2020, Dan Tratensek sits down with The Farnsworth Group’s Jim Robisch to reflect on the unique year that was 2020 and look forward at what 2021 might have in store for the industry.

Episode 29 – Sonya Ruff-Jarvis
On today’s episode we chat with industry veteran, author, marketer and consultant Sonya Ruff Jarvis. Sonya, shares her unique insights into the importance of addressing diversity and inclusion within your operation and shares some best practices for marketing your small business.

Episode 28 – Darrin Stern
Today, we talk to Darrin Stern from Koelnmesse Inc., which produces the International Hardware Fair and the SPOGA/GAFA lawn and garden show. Both these global events are going full-steam ahead for 2021 and Darrin will share how they plan on doing this safely and why North American attendees and exhibitors should make these shows part of their New Year’s plans.

Episode 27 – Emily DeMarco
On this edition of Taking Care of Business, we talk to Emily DeMarco from the National Hardware Show. She shares what attendees and exhibitors can expect from this year’s virtual event, scheduled for Oct. 12-15. To register or demo the event, head to www.nationalhardwareshow.com.

Episode 26 – Marc Hamer
On this episode, we talk with Marc Hamer, Orgill Inc.’s first-ever Chief Digital and Information Officer to learn about how one of the industry’s oldest wholesalers is fully embracing technology to drive growth and create operational efficiencies.

Episode 25 – Young Retailer of the Year Recap with Scott Wright
In the final installment of our series on this year’s Young Retailer of the Year Awards, we talk to Scott Wright, executive director of NRHA’s Retail Leadership Institute, about the impact of the awards, what they represent and what everyone can learn from watching them.

Episode 24 – Young Retailer of the Year: Cody Goeppner
On this episode, we chat with 2020 Young Retailer of the Year honoree Cody Goeppner from Bleyhl Co-Op in Grandview, Washington. We also speak to Teesee Murray from Epicor, one of this year’s program sponsors.

Episode 23 – Young Retailer of the Year: Weston Jacobs
On this episode, we visit with 2020 Young Retailer of the Year honoree Weston Jacobs from Weakley-Watson Hardware in Brownwood, Texas. We also speak to Dave Lewis from IPG, one of this year’s program sponsors.

Episode 22 – Dan Starr
This week we sit down with Do it Best President and CEO Dan Starr to learn about how business is shaping up for the co-op, the latest on its recent announcement about working with the Nation’s Best retail group and discuss the concept of “disruption” in the industry.

Episode 21 – Young Retailer of the Year: Sam Olson
On today’s episode, we visit with 2020 Young Retailer of the Year honoree Sam Olson from Buffalo Hardware in Buffalo, South Dakota. Sam shares his thoughts on his journey in the industry and the role independent business owners can play to elevate their communities. We also speak to Mike Nelson from MiTek, one of this year’s program sponsors.

Episode 20 – Fred Miller
In this episode, we learn why veteran industry analyst Fred Miller, president of Consumer Specialists, says there “has never been a single force that has so significantly shaped the home improvement market” as much as COVID-19. Listen in to what Miller learned from his new consumer research into how COVID will shape homeowner behavior for years to come.

Episode 19 – Young Retailer of the Year: Ryan Buck
In our next visit with a Young Retailer of the Year award winner, we talk to Ryan Buck of Buck’s Home Building Centre and New Germany Home Hardware. We also chat with Bill Sokol from Pony Jorgensen about the company’s commitment to the independent channel.

Episode 18 – Rich Russo
Today we are talking to the National Hardware Show’s Rich Russo who is going to tell us about what went into the decision to cancel this year’s live show and what his team has planned for the virtual event.

Episode 17 – Young Retailer of the Year: Lynzi Radermacher
On this episode we talk to Lynzi Radermacher of Ag Partners Town & Country in Minnesota. Lynzi shares her interesting path to joining the hardware retailing industry and how it has helped her grow the business. We also hear from Gary DuBoff, president and CEO of Arrow Fastener about why supporting the industry’s young leaders is so important to Arrow.

Episode 16 – Young Retailer of the Year: Katie DeMaris
On the next installment of our Young Retailer of the Year interviews we connect with Katie DeMaris from DeMaris Hardware in Iowa. We learn how Katie and her husband took the plunge into hardware retailing and quickly became fixtures in their local community. We also hear from Fluidmaster’s Greg Galen on why sponsoring the Young Retailer of the Year program is so important to their business.

Episode 15 – Young Retailer of the Year: Matthew Holmes
In this week’s podcast we talk to our first 2020 Young Retailer of the Year honoree, Matthew Holmes from Holmes Building Materials in Baton Rouge, LA. Holmes gives us insights into his transition from working in the contractor trades to leading this family business. We also talk to Glen Gevaart from Midwest Fastener about how his company proudly supports the Young Retailer of the Year Awards and the independent channel.

Episode 14 – Antoine Hinton
This week, we take a look at the importance of diversity and inclusion within the home improvement industry with our guest Antoine Hinton who is the chairperson of True Value’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. We discuss some of the ways companies can help promote more inclusive and diverse teams and the value that brings to the industry as a whole.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 19
While we have all learned a lot living through this pandemic some companies in the industry have been around to see other major events that have rattled the nation. This week, we talk with Jonathan Mize, CEO and president of Kansas-based distributor Blish-Mize. Next year, Blish-Mize will turn 150 years old and Jonathan shares some insights into how the company and its customers are making it through this pandemic and where he sees the industry heading post-COVID-19.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 18
On this episode we talk with Scott Wright, who head’s up NRHA’s Retail Leadership Institute. Scott shares how NRHA continues to help industry leaders hone their skills and stay connected during the pandemic. Scott also gives us a sneak peek into this year’s Young Retailer of the Year award winners.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 17
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has presented small businesses with their share of incredible challenges. In this week’s episode we talk to Bill Brunelle from Independent We Stand (www.independentwestand.org) who shares stories about how small businesses are coping with the pandemic. He also provides insights into how we can all band together to support small business moving forward.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 16
This week we check back in with long-time industry vet Jim Robisch from The Farnsworth Group to get his insights into the lessons we are all learning from operating a business during the time of COVID-19 and find out what he thinks might lie ahead for the home improvement industry.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 15
In this episode, we talk with Melanie Moul, Hardware Retailing‘s managing editor. She shares insights into what Hardware Retailing’s editors are hearing from the field, talks about what readers can expect in upcoming issues and discusses how her team continues to explore new ways to communicate with retailers during the pandemic.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 14
In this episode of Taking Care of Business, the Pep Talk edition, we look at some recent research from NRHA that shows exactly how independent retailers are being impacted by the pandemic. We also hear from Grant Farnsworth with the latest research from The Farnsworth Group on how DIYers and contractors are behaving nearly three months into COVID-19. He also gives a sneak peek at The Farnsworth Group’s upcoming free webinar with Kermit Baker from the Harvard University Joint Center. Register for the webinar by going to https://farnsworth.lpages.co/covid19-and-the-pros-response-webinar/.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 13
We’ve been getting a lot of questions from retailers about what they can, can’t, should or shouldn’t do when dealing with certain issues in the workplace that are related to COVID-19. So this episode’s guest is Mick Terrell, a partner with Taft Law (taftlaw.com), who specializes in labor and employment issues. Mick will help us sort through some of the delicate legal concerns retailers are dealing with today and pass along some sound advice about how to protect your employees and your business.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 12
On this episode we talk with retailer and leadership expert Dr. Rob Mathews, who passes along some tips on how to lead during times of crisis. Rob also shares real-world stories from home improvement retailers who are finding new ways to inspire, motivate and reward their teams during these challenging times.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 11
In this episode we talk to John Sieggreen, president of Central Network Retail Group (CNRG) and executive vice president of retail at Orgill, Inc. John talks to us about how the 100+ CNRG stores across the country have reacted to the COVID-19 outbreak and what they have learned during this time that can make them more effective retailers moving forward.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 10
With so much focus on the health of your employees and customers, we are going to focus a little bit of time on the financial health of your business. Gary Pittsford from Castle Wealth Advisors shares his thoughts on what areas of your business you should be keeping a close eye on right now and also touches on timely topics such as PPP funds, how you can use them to your advantage and whether you might face the prospect of having to repay them.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 9
If you ever wonder who’s answering your calls or emails when you reach out to NRHA, you’ll wonder no more after this episode where we chat with Katie McHone-Jones, who manages NRHA events and member services. We will talk about what Katie and her team are hearing from retailers during this crisis and how that feedback has led to the creation of several NRHA resources.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 8
On this Pep Talk episode of Taking Care of Business we talk to Pat Sheehan from Simple Green who shares some important information consumers and retailers really need to know about best practices for cleaning and disinfecting during COVID-19. We also have a return visit from Grant Farnsworth (www.thefarnsworthgroup.com) who will update us on how consumer shopping habits are changing under stay-at-home orders.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 7
When the team at Heisler’s Hardware in Spearfish, South Dakota, heard that their community food bank needed some help to keep up with the increased demand, they didn’t waste any time developing a plan. In this episode, we talk with Pam Heisler and Kelsee Colgrove to learn the very special story behind how they stepped up and worked with other local business leaders to provide much needed assistance to their neighbors in need.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 6
On this installment of the Pep Talk podcast, we welcome Andy DeVries, president of Midwest Fastener Corp. to the show. Andy shares his unique insights into how manufacturers are responding to COVID-19 challenges and talks to us about how this first link in the supply chain is handling fallout from the pandemic.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 5
This week on the Pep Talk edition of the Taking Care of Business podcast, we talk to PRO Group President and CEO Steve Synnott, who tells us how the company is adapting to meet the changing realities brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak. We also check back in with Grant Farnsworth from The Farnsworth Group who shares some eye-opening results emerging from their COVID-19 Impact Tracker study.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 4
In this Pep Talk episode of Taking Care of Business, we hear from Do it Best’s Rich Lynch about everything the distributor is doing to help its members get through the COVID-19 crisis. We also share some uplifting stories from the field about how retailers are rising to the occasion to help their communities.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 3
In this Pep Talk edition of the Taking Care of Business podcast we have two special guests. True Value President and CEO John Hartmann shares how the company is stepping up to meet retailers’ needs during the pandemic, including quickly transitioning their manufacturing facility to ramp up production of vital products. We also visit with Grant Farnsworth of the The Farnsworth Group, which together with the Home Improvement Research Institute is launching a new Covid-19 Impact Tracker study that anyone in the channel can access by visiting www.thefarnsworthgroup.com/covid or www.hiri.org.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 2
In this week’s Pep Talk edition of Taking Care of Business we will provide you with some updates from the field on what we are seeing with Covid-19, provide some resources for government assistance to small businesses and we will talk with Boyden Moore, president and CEO of Orgill, Inc. about how the distributor is responding to the challenges.

SPECIAL SERIES – Pep Talk Episode 1
In this episode of Taking Care of Business we kick off our special Pep Talk series where we will be sharing weekly updates, motivational messages, best practices and expert opinions relating to the current COVID -19 crisis. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast to stay up to date on any developments as they happen.

Episode 13 – Rich Russo
Rich Russo, Industry Vice President of the National Hardware Show, joins Dan this week in this episode of “Taking Care of Business.” They discuss the importance of meeting face-to-face with other industry professionals and why you should participate in the 75th annual National Hardware Show.

Episode 12 – Gary Pittsford
In the latest episode of “Taking Care of Business,” Gary Pittsford from Castle Wealth Advisors is back for round two. Dan and Gary discuss the importance of succession planning and what to keep in mind when considering the future of your business.

Episode 11 – John Venhuizen
Happy New Year to our listeners! Dan kicks off 2020 by chatting with John Venhuizen, President and CEO of Ace Hardware Corporation.

Episode 10 – Matt Woods
This week Dan is joined by Matt Woods, a multi-store retailer from Cincinnati, OH. Matt has focused heavily on integrating technology into his operations. Listen to this episode to hear more about Matt’s vision of the future.

Episode 9 – Bill Brunelle
This week, Dan is joined by Bill Brunelle of Independent We Stand. They talk about everything from Amazon to how consumer attitudes towards shopping local has changed. Learn more at https://www.independentwestand.org/.

Episode 8 – Jeff Cardwell
This week, Dan has a chat with Jeff Cardwell of Cardwell Do-it Best Home Center. Jeff is involved with many volunteering programs and is a strong believer in the concept of servant leadership. Hear about Jeff’s efforts in this episode and learn more about The Fuller Center by visiting https://fullercenter.org/.

Episode 7 – Jim Robisch
Jim Robisch makes his second appearance on this episode of Taking Care of Business. Jim and Dan talk about retailers who emphasize good business practices, the future of retailing and more!

Episode 6 – Kevin Hohman
Tune in this episode to hear Dan speak with Kevin Hohman, who is returning to the North American Retail Hardware Association. They chat about Kevin’s insights into other aspects of the retail industry that he gained during his time away.

Episode 5 – Dan Starr
In this episode, Dan chats with Dan Starr, President and CEO of Do it Best. They talk about some of the current challenges independent retailers face, such as weather, the economy and changes in distribution.

Episode 4 – Dave Gowan
This week, Dan speaks with NRHA’s Vice President of Finance and Business Services, Dave Gowan. Join Dan and Dave as they talk about NRHA’s long-running Cost of Doing Business Study. This resource allows retailers to compare their operations to average and high-profit operations in the home improvement industry. To learn more about the Cost of Doing Business Study, contact Dave Gowan at dgowan@yournhpa.org or visit nrha.org/codb.

Episode 3 – John Hartmann
On this episode of “Taking Care of Business,” Dan is joined by True Value president and CEO John Hartmann. They discuss how the company is looking to the future and finding new ways to empower its retailers. Hartmann talks about how True Value is bringing new marketing, sales and operational possibilities to the retailers it serves.

Episode 2 – Gary Pittsford
Welcome to this week’s episode of Taking Care of Business with Dan Tratensek! In this episode, Dan speaks with Gary Pittsford, president and CEO of Castle Wealth Advisors. Dan and Gary speak about various topics ranging from helping business owners understand the value of their business, considering the many aspects of business succession planning, and everything in between!

Episode 1 – Jim Robisch
Welcome to the inaugural episode of “Taking Care of Business” with Dan Tratensek! In this episode, Dan speaks with Jim Robisch, a senior partner at the The Farnsworth Group. They discuss common growth opportunities in a retail business, how e-commerce affects consumer engagement, upcoming projects at The Farnsworth Group and much more! Take a listen and subscribe today.