At the annual State of Independents Conference in Chicago, Illinois, last week, discussions focused on the role that data and research canplay in guiding local hardware retailers to success. Presented by the North American Retail HardwareAssociation (NRHA), the one-day, interactive event propose ddata-driven solutions to everyday challenges for these businesses, like finding the right products and growing their operations. At the same time, the event also celebrated the unique and non-quantifiable impacts that these small businesses can have on their communities through their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. Together with the NRHA, Independent We Stand presented T & M Hardware & Rental’s Samantha Post with the first-ever Spirit of Independents Award.
The Spirit of Independents Award honors locally owned businesses for their efforts to spread the shop local movement in their community. It recognizes the work that these dedicated business owners and community members do beyond their storefronts, from organizing Main Street events to advising their fellow small business owners. This work enriches the community by making it a more vibrant place to live, work and visit.
The impact of small businesses can be difficult to quantify, but it’s easy to see, particularly in the greater Pittsburgh area. T & M Hardware & Rental has remained a family-owned staple in the community for more than 25 years. Samantha Post grew up in the business, which her parents started in 1991. She now serves as its marketing and human resources manager, and she also serves on the board of directors for her community’s Main Street organization, the Bellevue Initiative for Growth andRevitalization. Accepting the inaugural Spirit of Independents Award last week, Post explained the important role that hardware stores play in their local business communities and encouraged other retailers in the industry do their part.
“We in this room are truly blessed that having a roof over your head is a basic human need, one that requires people to come spend money with us every day,” she said. “Unfortunately, people don’t need to buy sweet treats, they don’t need flowers, they don’t need artwork, and they certainly don’t need novelty gifts. These businesses have a harder time capturing sales and keeping their doors open than we do.”
“That is why I personally do what I do to help other small businesses succeed,” she continued.
Post’s poignant reminder came with a timely call to action. As the first-ever Spirit of Independents honoree, she hopes to see future recipients “ignite the movement to turn shopping local into a way of life, not just a feel-good cause reserved for the Saturday after Thanksgiving.” Post encouraged fellow business owners to support local events and Main Street organizations as they work to benefit the community.
As hardware retailers adopt new data-driven approaches to their line of work, the Spirit of Independents Award thanks them for their leadership beyond the storefront. It’s about helping customers build their dream homes and communities build their futures. For more information about this year’s honoree, visit www.tandmhardware.com.