Brian Ashworth, principal of four-store M&H Appliance, said teamwork was critical to his company’s success.

High-growth dealers coach members on how to hit the $5M mark 

By Janet Weyandt, YSN

The secret to breaking the $5 million mark as an independent retailer isn’t actually a secret at all. 

Three BrandSource members who broke the barrier participated in a panel discussion during Monday’s marketing education sessions at Convention 2023 to explain how they did it. 

“If you leave here thinking ‘if this dipstick can do it, so can I,’ you’re right,” Todd Hall, of Duerden’s Appliance & Mattress in Bountiful, Utah, told the packed room. “Nobody here is incompetent; incompetent people don’t come to training, they think they know everything.” 

Duerden said one of the biggest changes he had to make as his business grew was in his own actions. 

“At $5 million we had to start evolving,” he said. “I had to evolve from a good shopkeeper to a manager. [But] once you get above that, you can do anything you want. You can’t do everything at once; pick your priorities. If you do it rationally, you can get there.”

Brian Ashworth of M&H Appliance in Central Minnesota said his company’s growth, resulting from the acquisition of another business, was like blending families, and absorbing the staff of the new company into M&H was painful but necessary. 

“It was like a forced marriage,” he said. “Everyone’s afraid of change. Our mission is to succeed and grow, and we lost some good people who weren’t on board with the mission. You have to have a team that can play together.”

Tod Bellrichard, of Appliance Village in Rochester, Minn., said the role of the leader in a $5 million-plus business is not to be a drill sergeant, and he should know. 

“I served in the Marine Corps,” he said. “You have to be the leader of your store. It’s not about yelling and screaming; read some books, become a good leader.”

Another vital but difficult part of being a good leader is letting go of the reins. 

You have to delegate,” Bellrichard said. “You have to trust, develop, nurture people who can do these things for you. Make those people your leaders.”

YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.

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