Carr Hardware, based in Pittsfield, Mass., has been named the winner of the Independent Small Business of the Year Award or “Indie Award” given out by Independent We Stand. Carr, a STIHL dealer, will receive a prize package valued at $50,000, including a $5,000 grand prize and $1,000 for the store’s favorite small business group. The top 25 quarterfinalists for the award were announced on November 20, and the public was able to cast their votes for semifinalists through December 10. The ultimate winner of “The Indie” was chosen by a panel of contest judges. Studies like the Deloitte Retail Volatility Index show that “smaller, more nimble players are stealing share from larger, more traditional, at-scale retailers,” and Carr Hardware’s selection serves to show that independent businesses like the 9,000-member network of STIHL dealers are winning back the market from big-box retailers. The team at Carr Hardware is taking home the title, but they are donating the $5,000 cash award to help build a splash pad for local children in Pittsfield, Mass., home to the store’s main branch. “Our community supports us, and we support them. We saw that come full circle with our hurricane relief efforts in Houston earlier this year,” said Bart Raser, co-owner of Carr Hardware. “Now, to see the support of our customers lead to an award like this, in many ways, it is humbling and even more meaningful. It’s nice to know we live in a community that appreciates the value and impact of independent small businesses. Shopping local is part of our culture; it’s how we build community.” Owners Bart Raser and his father Marshall serve homeowners, contractors, commercial customers, institutions and government agencies throughout the state of Massachusetts, Connecticut and surrounding areas of New York State and Vermont through their stores. The family also supports many organizations including Rotary Club, Pittsfield Economic Redevelopment Commission (PERC), multiple Chambers of Commerce, Downtown Pittsfield Association, Boys & Girls Club, Berkshire Humane Society, Volunteer Dogs for the Blind and The Vocational & Technical Scholarship Fund. In addition, employees are encouraged and given time to volunteer in their communities from serving on volunteer fire departments to coaching local sports teams. Most recently, through product and cash donations, Carr Hardware involved its customers in providing a platform to support hurricane relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Family owned and operated since 1928, the company was originally founded by Sam Carr and purchased by the Raser family in 1962. Marshall and Bart Raser still handle the day-to-day operations of the regional business, which operates four stores in Massachusetts and two stores in Connecticut. Carr Hardware will receive prizes with a combined value of more than $50,000, including: $5,000 grand prize. $1,000 for the winner’s favorite small business group. $1,000 STIHL equipment certificate. 12-month subscription and three months of free managed marketing services from SnapRetail. Branding, advertising and public relations makeover from independent advertising agency—The Meridian Group. Three days/two nights retreat and branding workshop in Virginia Beach, Va. Plaque to display at winner’s business. Independent We Stand is all about independently owned businesses across the country reaching out to their communities and educating their neighbors about the many benefits of “buying local.” Independent We Stand is sponsored by STIHL Inc., with associate sponsorship support from Do it Best Corp. and PPG Paints. Subscribe for Free The Hardware Connection is a digital magazine targeted to independent hardware/home improvement retailers. It is the only industry magazine designed and distributed solely in electronic format and currently reaches over 63,000 people in the two-step channel. The Hardware Connection publishes four Newsletters each year in addition to eight magazine issues. To sign up yourself or additional staff to a free subscription to receive The Hardware Connection magazine and newsletter in electronic format, please click here. Learn More About the Following Click here to learn about ECi Software Solutions Click here to learn about WD-40 Click here to learn about Hyde Tools Click here to learn about Epicor
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