Burney Hardware Wins 'Best Hometown Store' Award
Posted on Friday March 17, 2017
When you’re being recognized as one of the best in the nation, the setting matters.

For the owners of Burney Hardware in Aberdeen, that setting was a private, catered affair at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, in Yorba Linda, Calif. It was there that Sam Ransdell accepted the Best Hometown Hardware Store Award in February, selected as one of the country’s Top 13 True Value stores.

“We were very honored and excited to win. It was like an acknowledgement of the hard work and many hours we’ve put in,” said Burney’s co-owner Kristy Ransdell. “We are very proud and honored to bring this award home for our local team. All of our employees know about it. We are very proud because they are a part of it. All of them doing their jobs is what helped us win.”

True Value is a national cooperative with 4,400 stores and 13 regional distribution centers. Each of those centers recommended a winning store from eligible nominations. Burney is serviced by the Atlanta distribution center, which represents the entire Southeast.

Ransdell said the store had to first satisfy intense criteria simply to be nominated. Judging was based on multiple categories, including six visits by “mystery shoppers” over the course of a year.

“We ended up scoring the best out of the Southeastern division, but I was even more excited to learn that we had scored way higher than last year’s winner,” she said. “It is great to be recognized for your hard work.”

In addition to the private awards dinner with True Value’s CEO and vice president, the Ransdells were also honored on stage last weekend at an industry trade show, sponsored by True Value. Their introduction included a short video highlighting the Burney Hardware story.

The original shop was established by Gus Burney in 1921. He sold stoves in Aberdeen’s downtown, later adding lumber and hardware to his inventory. In 1925, Burney built a new location near the post office. In the 1950s, he retired and sold the business to his employees. Little by little, those partners sold their interests to J.C. Robbins, who owned the lion’s share and would go on to become the town’s mayor.

In 1982, Robbins sold the business to local tobacco farmer S.R. Ransdell, who later sold the business to his son, Jim. The Burney name stayed, but the Ransdells relocated to a new, larger property on the outskirts of town, on U.S. 15-501. Jim Ransdell also brought the shop under the True Value Hardware banner.

As a co-op, True Value is a retailer-owned buying group, consisting of members. It’s not a franchise but a group of individual storeowners. Collectively, all these store operators own their wholesale distributor, True Value Company. Catering to the do-it-yourself market, the company offers thousands of private label brand names, including True Value, Master Mechanic, Green Thumb and Master Plumber, plus the critically acclaimed True Value paint line.

All of the company’s distribution, operation and promotions costs are consolidated under the True Value name.

A third-generation operation, Burney Hardware family patriarch S.R. still drops by daily to sign checks; Jim and Kristy manage the store; and their son, Sam, more recently added a rental section and Stihl equipment dealership to the mix. An active reservist in the U.S. Army National Guard, Sam was also recognized in 2015 with a Young Retailer of the Year award by a national retail hardware association.

The family has nearly completed a strategic five-year plan to renovate and expand their business, growing the store from 12,000 to 13,500 square feet in the primary retail area, plus an addition that connects the shop to a nearby 10,000-square-foot building.

“The vendor show in California was an intense two days of visiting booths. There was a lot to cover. It was hard work, but we enjoyed it,” said Kristy Ransdell. “We got to see what new things are out there, and we are excited to bring this (award) back to the store.”

Burney True Value Hardware is located on 11865 Hwy 15-501 S, Aberdeen. The store is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To visit them online, click here.

Article by Laura Douglass, Reporter for The Pilot.
Contact Laura Douglass at (910) 693-2474 or by email [email protected].

Staff-Burney Hardware
Burney Hardware Staff

Award-Burney Hardware
Sam Ransdell accepting the award.
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