Case Studies

Wallace Hardware Company Inc.: Supplying Exceptional Hardware and Lumber

  • Written by: Wallace Hardware Company Inc.: Supplying Exceptional Hardware and Lumber
  • Produced by: Wallace Hardware Company Inc.: Supplying Exceptional Hardware and Lumber
  • Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Prestigious hardware, lumber and industrial divisions make up Wallace Hardware Company Inc. (WHC). The wholesale distributor and supplier has been selling high-quality hardware, lumber and building products throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic since 1922 from its home base in Morristown, Tenn.

WHC was originally focused on the Lakeway Region of upper east Tennessee, but the company now supplies materials to over 12 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The company has been family-owned and -operated throughout its 90 years of incorporation.

WHC was originally named Whittaker Holtsinger Company upon its founding in 1922, but the Wallace family acquired the company in 1936; D.M. Wallace, former president of WHC, joined the company at its inception and eventually worked his way up through the ranks, renaming it after his own in 1944.

The Man with the Plan

The business has grown ever since due to the foundation laid down by D.M. and his son, John, who assumed the role of president when D.M. passed. According to Doyle Wallace, third-generation current president and CEO of WHC, it was John who propelled the business toward growth and success.

John started with WHC as a part-timer in 1936 at the age of eight, and brought both passion and compassion to the company over his 60-plus years of service. John, as the second-generation president, built off of D.M.’s solid foundation of leadership by using his insight into the business and its clients, basing plans on the long term rather than short term.

By keeping one eye on the present and the other on the future, WHC enjoyed substantial growth during John’s tenure. The company achieved new ranks in quality and consistency with each passing year. New vendors and new customers arrived and WHC began to host road shows and dealer market conventions.

The example that both D.M. and John set while serving as presidents of the company allows Doyle to prosper today. The company now has over 2,500 agreements with big name vendors, all of which stock WHC with approximately 30,000 products. These contracts include 3M, Masco Bath, DeWalt/Black&Decker, Oatey, The Keeney Manufacturing Company, Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc. and Robert Bosch Tool Corporation.

Leading By Example

The team understands the needs and concerns of both the company’s vendors and clients, mainly because WHC is a company that sprung from the same sales-based roots. While WHC is a wholesale distributor and supplier, the team also provides several services to retailers. “We offer merchandizing programs under the banner of PRO Hardware [PRO] that will boost sales,” states Doyle. “We also help them with the inventory process.”

WHC and PRO offer numerous merchandising ideas that enhance the strength of both the store and its owners. “We partner with them to help them grow their business by remerchandising the store, having an inventory control system, national identity on the signage and advertising via circulars,” Doyle says. The services fit with WHC’s mission to both serve its customers as well as continue to cultivate its own connections amongst them, which is one of the main reasons that WHC has remained one of the Top 10 Largest Independent Hardware Distributors in the United States.

The dedication that WHC shows for its clients is impressive, especially when it comes to getting the materials and tools to its client. The company delivers materials on a weekly basis to clients via the 30 trucks and 80 trailers stationed outside WHC’s 250,000-square foot warehouse. The 27-plus truck drivers go to great lengths to get an average of 100 loads per week out on the roads and on its way to its end destination.

The plans and goals that will take WHC forward in the future are based on the same values that were set down by its founding fathers. By being a leading distributor of products and services, WHC has been able to retain more than 2,000 customers across 12 states. The company has developed a familial culture both in the field and in the office over the years, creating a work environment in which employees have the opportunity for both personal and professional growth. While it has thousands of off-the-shelf and specialized goods, the company’s finest product is the outstanding service to clients, customers and the community that the team at Wallace Hardware Company Inc. provides.

Published on: March 10, 2013

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