Carey’s True Value is winning retailer

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Accepting award for Carey’s True Value are co-managers Brenda Burke and Zack Mullen. From left are Brent Burger, True Value Chairman of the Board, Mark Gifford, Kyle Gifford, Brenda Burke, and Zack Mullen from Carey’s, and John Hartmann – CEO of True Value.

Provided/The Chronicle-Express

True Value Company recently honored 13 True Value hardware stores, selected from each of the co-op’s retail regions, as winners of its seventh annual Best Hardware Store in Town international recognition program.

Owner Jeff Gifford of Carey’s True Value & Rental Outlet in Penn Yan, was one winning retailer in the spotlight at True Value’s 2014 Spring & Rental Reunion, held in Atlanta, Feb. 21-23.

Carey’s True Value & Rental Outlet is a story of transformation. The store first opened in 1995 as a two-person business with 500 square feet of retail space dedicated primarily to rental equipment and tractor supplies. From there, the family-owned store continued to grow to meet customer demand, and underwent a remodel to the Destination True Value (DTV) format in May 2013. Today, the store sits at 6,800 square feet, and provides not only hardware and home and garden supplies, but rental equipment from party tents to jack hammers, and supplies for animal care and feeding.

Developed by True Value Company, DTV’s flexibility enables independent retailers to adapt to their unique store layout and custom select merchandise assortments best suited for, and most relevant to, their local market. At the same time, the format appeals to female and younger demographics with updated lighting, flooring, signs and more.

“Customers will not have to go all over town now get what they need,” Gifford says. “Since the DTV remodel, we’ve expanded our product offerings. We offer a unique set of products and services that our customers appreciate.”

According to Gifford, it’s not just the remodel and the store’s new layout that keep customers satisfied at Carey’s True Value — it’s the people, the face of the business.

“Our staff is paramount to our success,” Gifford said. “At the end of the day, it’s about people liking people. Our staff is friendly and knowledgeable and engages with customers on a personal level, knowing most of them by name.”

In addition to supporting their customers in the pursuit of the perfectly executed DIY project, Carey’s True Value supports their community beyond the stores’ walls. During their grand reopening, the store sold food and beverages and donated all proceeds to the local Humane Society. They also donated 40 gallons of paint, along with their time and talent, to help paint a local public park building.

“It’s important to be involved in the community,” Gifford said. “We’re like a family. We take care of the community, and they take care of us. We all work together to make the area thrive.”

Sponsored by True Value Company, the Best Hardware Store in Town program recognizes retailers who exemplify successful retailing. Store owners are typically nominated by a peer or retail manager. Each winner went through a series of selection processes until regional managers narrowed down the top candidates. Mystery shoppers then visited each selected store to gain a customer’s perspective. The co-op evaluated each finalist based on physical appearance, product selection, competitive pricing, promotional sales and customer assistance.

“Carey’s True Value & Rental Outlet represents the best of what it means to be part of the True Value co-op,” said John Hartmann, president and chief executive officer of True Value Company. “They are entrepreneurs, dedicated to serving not only their customers, but also their community. They consistently deliver on the five principles of successful retailing: people, place, product, price and promotion. And when they do that, they meet customers’ needs and expectations, creating a profitable and sustainable business.”