Researching and editing approximately 4,500 companies annually for Chain Store Guide’s database of Home Center Operators & Hardware Chains and especially the top 700 companies in conjunction with the Home Channel News Scoreboards over the past two decades has provided me with a distinct educational opportunity. Early on these projects proved to be almost a crash course on learning the intricacies of a unique and rather complex market. I enjoyed the many demands of the projects especially when it came to communicating with company executives to confirm data changes and determine the factors behind them. In later years I found myself often able to anticipate some changes while in other cases being able to foresee coming industry trends as I edited and checked data.
From my early days I saw that this was an intensely loyal industry as company presidents and CEOs explained that while a location or two had closed, the company had not lost any personnel as the company had found another place or division to move affected employees. I found this to be an industry where simple honesty is prized as executives called me back to correct a minor error in an earlier discussed figure. At times administrative assistants called back to correct an error that had been overheard from their boss.
For the most part my education took place during the healthy ‘90s when annual sales figures were generally expected to increase at least five to ten percent. Then in the past decade these figures began to soar. In the late ‘90s a twenty five percent annual sales increase was relatively rare. After the turn of the century such increases were often anticipated, much to the delight of Wall Street and private investors. The frenzied demand for new home building, mortgage speculations, and skyrocketing prices for lumber and building materials pretty much assured significant increases in annual company financials.
Then about four years ago, as the term ‘subprime mortgage’ surfaced and began to appear regularly in the news, annual financials began to plateau as the industry unwittingly prepared for the crisis to come. Suddenly employee totals began to dip and I found myself anticipating the turmoil to follow. Learn more…
In-depth profiles of Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowe’s and 4,500 leading home center and hardware chains can be found in Chain Store Guide’s Database of Home Centers & Hardware Chains.
Arthur Rosenberg, Senior Editor
Arthur has worked at Chain Store Guide for 20 years. He received a B.A. degree from City College of New York and attained a master’s degree in electronic communications from Brooklyn College. Please contact him if you have questions or comments.