Monday, August 28, 2023, FORT WAYNE, IN — Do it Best dominated the 2023 Beacon Awards, a premier national industry awards program developed to recognize the best of the best independent home improvement retailers, at the recent Hardware Conference. This year, three of the four honorees were Do it Best member-owners, including Carr Hardware, R.P. Lumber, and Tum-A-Lum Lumber.
Bart Raser, owner of Carr Hardware with locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut, was honored with the Retail Beacon award in recognition of his commitment to community service and industry success. Raser grew up working in the business and returned after earning his undergraduate degree. Since then, he has grown Carr Hardware from a single location in downtown Pittsfield to a six-store chain that has been voted “Best in the Berkshires” for 25 straight years, was featured on Undercover Boss in 2014, and was named the National Independent Business of the Year in 2017. In 2019, Carr Hardware built its first project with Do it Best, a new ground-up 10,000-square-foot store in Lenox, MA.
Raser has focused on being smarter and sharper than his competitors while learning the importance of relationships and integration into the communities he serves. The service culture he has instilled among Carr Hardware’s 100+ team members is contagious, and giving back to the community is viewed as a team sport.
“Do it Best is the most dedicated, collaborative, and supportive co-op, and we’re so thankful for their nomination,” said Raser. “We value our ongoing relationship with the entire Do it Best team, and because of that relationship, we’ve been able to grow our business and make a positive impact on the communities we serve.”
Also receiving a Retail Beacon award was R. P. Lumber, based in Edwardsville, IL. Founded in 1977 by the Plummer family, R. P. Lumber has grown to more than 80 hardware and building material stores and two truss manufacturing facilities across five states. Each retail location is a full-service home center and building material outlet serving homeowners and pro customers, influencing the lumber market with $160 million in lumber and building materials sales and hardlines purchases through Do it Best over the last 12 months.
As the company’s geographic footprint has expanded and store count has increased, its culture has grown as well. R.P. Lumber is active in dozens of communities with a focus on churches, family activities, law enforcement, and youth sports, and R.P. Lumber Center is a recreational complex in Edwardsville that offers a year-round destination for meetings and events with its ice rink, fitness and teen centers, and meeting rooms.
Tum-A-Lum Lumber in Pendleton, OR, a division of TAL Building Centers, was honored with the Beacon Award for Best New Store. Having operated out of a dilapidated 2,000-square-foot building since 1924, the original Pendleton location was due for an update. Using a design process the Tum-A-Lum Lumber team calls placemaking—a people-inspired approach to creating a space where customers want to visit, stay, and work with the team—they opened their doors to a unique, multi-acre space in February 2022. Its much larger footprint includes a 10,000-square-foot retail store, a large garden center and nursery, 6,000 square feet of enclosed storage, and 500 linear feet of lumber racking. In just 18 months, sales have increased 45 percent year over year.
Since Susan Cornelius and her family purchased its four stores in 2010, Vancouver, WA-based TAL Building Centers has acquired 27 new locations and entered 10 new markets, now operating 32 stores. In addition to acquisitions, major remodels and ground-up builds are also an integral part of their growth strategy.
“We are grateful for our partnership with Do It Best and the expertise they provide in advancing our business,” said Katherine Cornelius, TAL Building Centers marketing director. “Their team is invested in our success, whether they are examining customer purchasing data to determine the most suitable planogram or providing a range of products that help us better execute retail performance. Through the many services they provide, we are able to gain a comprehensive understanding of our customer base and pinpoint areas of growth.”
“These Do it Best member-owners represent the very best of our industry and what it means to be an independent retailer,” said Dan Starr, Do it Best president and CEO. “Although their paths to success are unique, their vision, dedication, and commitment to community are the common building blocks upon which this recognition was built—and is so richly deserved.”
Independently owned home improvement stores like Carr Hardware, R.P. Lumber, and Tum-A-Lum Lumber are backed by the strength of their status as member-owners of Do it Best, the only US-based, member-owned comprehensive and fully integrated hardware, lumber, and building materials buying cooperative in the home improvement industry. Working together with member-owners, vendor partners, and employees, the co-op continues to achieve industry-wide success.
About Do it Best
Based in Fort Wayne, IN, Do it Best is the only US-based, member-owned comprehensive and fully integrated hardware, lumber, and building materials buying cooperative in the home improvement industry. With annual sales surpassing $5 billion, Do it Best serves thousands of member-owned locations across the United States and in more than 50 other countries. For more information, visit doitbestonline.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.