“We’re very independent. We have our own systems. Working with True Value gives us the flexibility to do it our way. They’ve been a really solid partner.”
Founder J.H. Cole started the business in 1883. Today Cole’s Hardware is one of True Value’s most successful retailers. “Of the 5Ps of retail, ‘place,’ is a big priority,” says great-grandson William “Bo” Cole III. “We’ve moved quite a few of our stores to get our locations right.”
Product and people are a key focus, too. “We spend a lot of time on the selection,” says Bo’s brother, Greg. “We base it on our shoppers, a blend of True Value and national brands.” The Coles train their sales people to be friendly, knowledgeable and comfortable with change. “You have to change constantly to succeed,” says Bo. “The people here who push change—they’re who we value most.”
The Coles will fit right in with the new True Value.
(Left to Right) George Kuhns, Brian Shaffer, Bo Cole and brother Greg.