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Getting into hardware: family business thanks PRO for helping expand horizons.

Burgess Feed and PRO Hardware has been working with PRO for so long that owner Steve Burgess can barely remember a time when they weren't connected.

"We became a PRO dealer so long ago that we're not sure of the year," he says, adding that it was sometime in the very early 1990s. Prior to that, the Benton, Term., store mainly focused on feed. That is, until PRO-affiliated distributor, Wallace Hardware, explained to Burgess the ways PRO Hardware could help his store expand and effectively advertise their business. Steve was impressed by the presentation, and the rest is history.

"Several years ago we decided to put more emphasis on the hardware side of the store," says Burgess. "The PRO program introduced us to products that we had never stocked before. They helped us in expanding inventory that applied to the hardware customer."

Burgess Feed and PRO Hardware is a family business in every sense of the word. It's been a part of the Burgess family for 41 years, and is currently being run by the third generation. Owned by Steve and Dana Burgess, the store is managed by their daughter, Stephanie Burgess Everett.

In 2002, at age 28, Stephanie began working for the family store full time. She thought she would spend a few years learning the ropes, until the unthinkable happened. Her father, Steve, had cancer and needed her to assume frill management of the store. She jumped in headfirst, as her father went through treatment and made his way to recovery.

Throughout that time and still today, PRO's support has continued to be vital. "PRO has allowed us to expand with various products, which are needed for their advertising campaigns," said Burgess. "We plan on utilizing all the PRO programs that will help us reach our customers with new products and services."

Today, Burgess Feed and PRO Hardware offers a diverse inventory to the Benton community, including feed, hardware, paint, chemicals and even a Stihl Concept Tool Store.

In recent years, industry experts have recognized that Burgess Feed and PRO Hardware is a cut above. The store is the 2008 Wallace Hardware PRO Retailer of the year and a 2009 Paul L. Cosgrave Memorial Award Finalist.


Richard Snowden is the Vice President of Marketing for Wallace Hardware, which is a PRO distributor based in Morristown, Tenn., that works closely with Burgess. He noted the evolution of the store from its roots as a small gas station in 1968 under Easley Burgess into the full-service hardware, feed and farm supply business that it is today.

"In 2008 they increased their circular distribution by 20 percent, becoming a high-volume user in a small market," Snowden said. "They support all Wallace initiatives and serve faithfilly on our dealer advisory board. They attend every Wallace sponsored conference or event."

Snowden says when stores operate in a professional manner like Burgess, they're not only helping themselves, they're also helping other businesses that share in the same pipeline, like PRO and Wallace Hardware.

"They have truly embraced the PRO Hardware program," says Snowden. "They realize it is necessary to get customers in, and they integrate the PRO Hardware flexible circular to customize and personalize their advertising, including outdoor pouter equipment and farm supplies."

But even with all the accolades from his industry peers, Steve and his family aren't about to rest on their laurels. They have big plans for the future. Over the next five years, Stephanie hopes to double the size of the business, double the margins and develop a full-line lumberyard.

Through it all, they know that whatever they do, PRO will help support them any way they can.
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Title Annotation:DISTRIBUTOR PROFILE: PRO GROUP; Burgess Feed
Publication:Hardware Retailing
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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