Hardware store all-stars: Idaho, Illinois and Indiana

As Home Channel News continues its march across the United States touting high-performance hardware store retailers, here are three champions of -- from west to east -- diversification, customer centricity and gardening prowess:

• Idaho
May Hardware 
About 100 miles north of Boise, May Hardware in McCall, Idaho, has taken diversification and niche development to rare places. The hardware store serves a former logging town turned tourist destination with a core assortment, plus such upscale housewares as Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Le Creuset cookware. The company also runs a marina on Payette Lake; a 24-hour locksmith service; and a division that installs home security systems, home audio systems and whole-house automatic controls that regulate lighting, temperature, surveillance and access. 

• Illinois
Weiss Ace Hardware 
In Glenview, Ill., Weiss Ace Hardware propelled to a modicum of fame by appearing as the customer-centric cover story of the Ace Show Daily last month. The store is run by Jon Weiss, whose father John bought the business from one of Ace’s founders (Richard Hesse) back in 1931. The family affair includes Jon’s son J.T. and daughter Lynne Rine, who are both managers at the Glenview store.

• Indiana
Sullivan Hardware and Garden 
Perhaps the most visited hardware store in Hoosierland, Sullivan Hardware and Garden twice a year welcomes busloads of Do it Best Corp. members to its north Indy location. It’s worth the trip -- even for repeat visitors. Owned by Do it Best board member Pat Sullivan, the store’s expansive indoor-outdoor garden center is a legitimate tourist attraction. And the store-within-a-store gift shop contributes to an upscale female-friendly atmosphere. 

HCN Monday will publish one store each from Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky. Also, register with Homechannelnews.com to see the May article in its entirety.