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Waters Hardware Continues Aggressive Growth Strategy with Seven-Store Acquisition

Pictured from left to right: The Waters Hardware leadership team, including brothers Bo Gerken, Wes Gerken and Rusty Gerken, alongside their brother-in-law Mike Valent, is aggressively growth-minded and carefully vets every opportunity based on location, market potential and price.

As part of an aggressive growth strategy, Waters Hardware recently closed on the purchase of the seven-store Nuts & Bolts hardware store chain serving Missouri and Kansas. The original seven-location Waters Hardware is itself an acquisition by the Gerken family, who founded Gerken Rent-All in 2002 and began their expansion into hardware and home improvement when they first purchased Paola Hardware in 2016.

The addition of Nuts & Bolts brings their total number of home improvement stores to 20, 11 of which house Gerken Rent-All service centers, as well as 13 stand-alone Gerken Rent-All locations and three lumberyards.

“Hardware is a natural extension of our original rental business,” said Owner Rusty Gerken. “These Nuts & Bolts locations are serving regions we’ve been looking to grow into because they complement our current offerings so well. Bringing them into our family of home improvement businesses just made sense, and we’ve already started introducing enhancements we know customers will appreciate.”

All seven Nuts & Bolts locations will remain open as they go through a complete remodel. Each store will be rebranded with the Waters Hardware name and will undergo a complete store reset, including refreshed interiors, layout updates and product additions to ensure each community has access to an optimal assortment of merchandise. The Gerkens intend to retain all Nuts & Bolts associates, and Gerken Rent-All heavy-duty equipment rental will be added to select locations.

“We’re excited to finish these remodeling projects and keep the momentum going,” said Gerken. “And we’ll continue looking for new opportunities to grow. Keep watching. We’re just getting started!” Waters Hardware and the Gerken family are backed by the strength of their status as a member-owner of Do it Best, the only U.S.-based hardware, lumber and building materials buying cooperative in the home improvement industry.

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