Four hardware and home improvement retailers were honored as 2023 Beacon Award winners during the Beacon Awards banquet held Friday, August 18 at the JW Marriott in Marco Island, Fla. The Beacon Awards are a premier national industry awards program developed by The Hardware Connection magazine and The Hardware Conference to recognize the “best of the best” independent hardware/home improvement retailers.
The 2023 Beacon Awards were sponsored by Fluidmaster, Ettore Products Company and Epicor Software Corp., with wholesaler sponsorship from Do it Best and Orgill.
The Beacon Awards, now in their 11th year, honored the 2023 Retail Beacon Award winners for each of the two participating wholesalers, plus two winners for Best New Store.
“These Beacon Award winners are an outstanding group of retailers. They all went above and beyond to find new ways to serve their communities with well-designed, easy-to-shop stores,” stated Chris Jensen, editor/founder/principal of The Hardware Connection, the hardware industry’s leading digital publication.
What follows is an overview of the 2023 Beacon Award honorees:
Retail Beacon Award — R.P. Lumber, Edwardsville, Ill.
Founded in 1977 by Robert and Donna Plummer, R. P. Lumber has grown to over 80 hardware and building material stores and two truss manufacturing facilities in five states. In recent years, the company has been managing an aggressive growth strategy, spearheaded by Vice President Jason Plummer, a second-generation leader.
Each retail location is a full-service home center and building material outlet serving homeowners and pro customers, with six stores remodeled to improve the customer experience this year. Team members deliver on the company’s “Best Service. Best Value” promise. In 2022,
R.P. Lumber partnered with Epicor to adopt a fully integrated ecommerce platform with ship-to-store capability, investing further in technology to improve operational efficiencies.
As the company’s geographic footprint expands and store count increases, it’s important to the Plummer family that the company’s culture grows as well while staying nimble and entrepreneurial. R.P. Lumber is active in dozens of communities with a focus on youth sports, law enforcement, family activities and churches. R.P. Lumber Center is a recreational complex in Edwardsville that offers a year-round destination for meetings and congregating with its ice rink, fitness center, track, teen center and meeting rooms.
Retail Beacon Award — Carr Hardware, Pittsfield, Mass.
With six locations in the Berkshires region, Carr Hardware dates back to 1928. Bart Raser grew up working in the business, which was purchased by his father, Marshall, in 1962. His father is 95 and still involved. When Bart returned to help run Carr Hardware 30 years ago, it was a single location in downtown Pittsfield adjacent to a competing hardware store.
Adopting a service mindset with strong community involvement, Bart has helped grow Carr Hardware into a successful six-store chain that has been voted “Best in the Berkshires” for 25 straight years, featured on Undercover Boss in 2014 and was named the National Independent Business of the Year in 2017. In 2019, Carr Hardware built its first project with Do it Best, a new ground-up 10,000-square-foot store in Lenox, Mass.
Bart has focused on being smarter and sharper than his competitors while learning the importance of relationships and integration into the communities he serves. The service culture Bart has instilled among Carr Hardware’s 100+ team members is contagious, and giving back to the community is viewed as a team sport.
Beacon Award for Best New Store — Townsend Building Supply, Panama City, Fla.
Townsend Building Supply is a Century Club retailer that dates back to 1921. It has been solely owned by the Townsend family since 1949. In 2009, the operation began expanding, and
in 2012, the family’s third generation—Michael and Turner Townsend—took over the operation. The company currently operates seven locations in Alabama and Florida.
After Hurricane Michael caused massive destruction in Panama City, Fla., in 2018, Townsend Building Supply set up a makeshift lumberyard to help the community rebuild. In 2020, the company decided to make the store permanent. Breaking ground in 2021, they built the lumberyard portion first and moved the operation there before building the main warehouse and showroom. Although the pandemic delayed the new store’s construction by 10 months, it had its grand opening in September 2022 and has seen sales greatly exceed projections.
The new location is a full-line lumber and building materials dealer, specializing in windows and doors, siding, decks and other outdoor projects. It features a paved lumberyard and a drive-thru warehouse with automated rack storage system for easy loading.
Beacon Award for Best New Store — Tum-A-Lum Lumber, Pendleton, Calif.
More than a century after Tum-A-Lum Lumber was founded by J.M. Crawford, his great-granddaughter Susan Cornelius and her family repurchased its four stores in 2010. Soon they formed a managing company using its acronym TAL as a vehicle to spur aggressive growth, diversify the business and build better communities.
Based in Vancouver, Wash., TAL Holdings has since acquired 27 new locations and entered 10 new markets and now operates 32 stores. While acquisitions are an integral part of their growth strategy, so, too, are major remodels and ground-up builds. Tum-A-Lum Lumber’s original Pendleton, Ore., location had been serving customers since 1924 out of a dilapidated 2,000-square-foot building.
Using a design process the team at TAL calls placemaking—a people-inspired approach to creating a space where customers want to come in, stay and work with the team, Tum-A-Lum Lumber-Pendleton opened the doors to a unique, multi-acre space in February 2022. Its much larger footprint includes a beautiful 10,000-square-foot retail hardware store, large garden center and full nursery, 6,000 square feet of covered, enclosed storage and 500 linear feet of lumber racking, Sales have increased 45 percent year over year since reopening.
2023 BEACON AWARDS SPONSORS
Fluidmaster was founded in 1957 based on revolutionary and proprietary pilot fill valve technology. The 400 series pilot valve has since grown to become the most recognized and best-selling toilet fill valve in the world, selling more than 21 million fill valves annually. Fluidmaster’s product portfolio has expanded to a complete range of high-performance fill and flush products for worldwide OEM and aftermarket applications. The company remains on the cutting edge in providing retailers with updated fill and flush products to repair newer, water-saving toilets.
Ettore Products Co.
In 1936, Ettore invented and patented the modern-day squeegee. Today, the same tool that revolutionized professional window cleaning can be used in your home to get the same long-lasting, streak-free results. Ettore provides a full line of window-cleaning tools and accessories for home and commercial use including squeegees, shower squeegees, window scrubbers, extension poles, soap, scrapers, floor squeegees and buckets, as well as lamb’s wool, feather, cobweb, ceiling fan and poly-static dusters and extended-reach grabbing tools.
Epicor for Retail provides productivity solutions to local and specialty retailers in nearly 8,000 locations across North America and the Caribbean. We’ve been building enduring relationships with our customers for nearly 35+ years. Find out how to streamline and optimize your business today.
The Hardware Connection
The Hardware Connection is the only magazine designed and distributed solely in an electronic format for independent hardware retailers. With a circulation of nearly 60,000, the award-winning publication boasts the largest database of any print or digital publication in the industry. The Hardware Connection has received 16 awards for editorial excellence in the past nine years.
The Hardware Conference
Now in its 35th year, The Hardware Conference is the industry’s largest gathering of independent hardware retailers regardless of wholesaler affiliation.
Profiles of the 2023 Beacon Awards winners will be featured in the September 2023 issue. For more information on the Beacon Awards, go to www.thehardwareconnection.com.