Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

March  2005                                Volume 44,  Issue 2

     Big Box Bulletin

Scotty's Inc. Closes its Doors

Scotty’s Inc., an 80-year-old Winter Haven, Fla.-based hardware store chain, is in the final stages of liquidation. Stores in Land O’Lakes, Dade City, Brooksville and Haines City, Fla., are among those selling their entire inventory. About 15 remaining branches will close by March 31, 2005.

In September 2004, Scotty’s Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection. The company said it had been surviving against big-box competitors such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, but Hurricane Charley doomed the company when it destroyed Scotty’s Punta Gorda, Fla., store and seriously damaged other branches.

According to an article by The Tampa Tribune, the telephone number at Scotty’s headquarters had been disconnected by the end of January. Officials who could be reached hung up or said, “Scotty’s is out of business.”

Founded in 1924 by farmer Evanda Hugh Sweet, Scotty’s grew into a hardware and building supply chain that went public on the American Stock Exchange. It was purchased by a Belgian company, GIB Group, in 1998, when Scotty’s had 164 stores in Florida and neighboring states and an estimated 6,000 employees. 

Later in 1998, the company’s senior management team, including current president Tom Morris, purchased the company for about $100 million. As of September 2004, Scotty’s had more than 30 stores in Florida, mostly in central and northern Florida.

In recent years, the chain had transformed itself from large home improvement stores to small hardware stores in rural communities, according to the article. It converted some of its larger properties to outlet malls and flea markets. 

Home Depot and AARP Expand Partnership
Following the launch of a national hiring partnership earlier this year, The Home Depot® and the American Association of Retired Persons® (AARP) have announced an exclusive multi-year, multi-faceted agreement that will expand their relationship to include a number of educational, merchandising and marketing initiatives designed for AARP members and all customers of The Home Depot. 

According to a Home Depot news release, the strategic alliance was designed to provide products and information to older Americans who wish to remain in their homes and “age in place.” The two companies will focus on ways for older customers to achieve their goals for home modification as well as modernization. 

Among the key elements of the expanded alliance, Home Depot will pilot an in-store information resource center in 2005 for adults aged 50 and over and all individuals who are looking for ways to live independently in their homes. 
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Ace Gives Hardware Help to Needy Community Places
Ace Hardware, of Oak Brook, Ill., has announced the recipients of the free hardware supplies and volunteer work that are part of the second year of Ace’s New Faces for Helpful Places program. According to a news release, the company has decided to continue the program, which provides facelifts to community helpful places across the country in need of repairs, based on the success of last year.

This year’s 10 projects range from an animal shelter in Illinois and volunteer fire department in New Jersey to a domestic violence shelter in Arizona and camp for disabled children and adults in Michigan. The 2005 line-up consists of two more projects than in 2004. 

The program was launched in 2004 as part of Ace’s 80th anniversary celebration. Ace retailers across the country nominate helpful places in their own communities in need of restoration. Entries are judged by Ace based on the location’s use by the community, emotional significance and its overall contribution to the community. Led by national home improvement expert and Ace’s “Helpful Hardware Man” Lou Manfredini, each project will receive $5,000 for supplies and a full day’s worth of service from Manfredini, his crew of local volunteers and the nominating Ace retailer at each site. 

“Last year, I saw the extraordinary difference our renovations made to each of the organizations we helped,” said Manfredini. “I can’t wait to head back out to more community sites and work with the Ace retailers and community volunteers to repair the facilities selected for 2005.”
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