The award, established to identify and promote the next generation of aspiring independent home improvement retailers, recognizes individual achievement by industry retailers 35 years and younger throughout the United States and Canada. Selected from different retail categories, winners are chosen based on a number of criteria including professional activities and highlights in areas such as career and community involvement, hardware industry education and extracurricular activities.
Sponsors of the 2015 Young Retailer of the Year award include the American Hardware Manufacturers Association, Apex Tool Group, Delta Faucet Company, Fluidmaster, Intertape Polymer Group and Midwest Fastener Corporation.
The combination of an analytical mind, determination and confident enthusiasm has made Ryan Ringer the type of retailer that can embrace any challenge in front of him. And there have been plenty since he started working full-time as the fourth-generation retailer at his family’s lumberyard.
The first came in late 2001 when left a job in sales to join his father in the family business. Seeing an opportunity for greater efficiencies and sales margins in the store, Ringer invested in a new POS system to modernize the store and made changes to the store’s pricing structure. Within a few months, margins were up 3 percent. Next, in 2002, he focused on expanding the Gold Beach store by 3,500 square feet. In addition to increasing his product offering for pro customers, Ringer also increased his attention to the retail customer. By expanding departments like paint and lawn & garden, Ringer dramatically increased his female shopper demographic. With these and many other changes in the store, sales tripled over the next four years.
Throughout the growing years of 2002-2007, Ringer also was looking beyond the store’s traditional sales area for customers, and soon Gold Beach Lumber was making dozen of deliveries a day to the nearby towns of Brookings, Or and Crescent City, CA. It wasn’t long afterwards that he spied an opportunity for a second location in Brookings, in a vacant car dealership. After purchasing the property and setting an aggressive timeline, Ringer worked on a store design while directing a major remodel of the building. While such a project would normally take over a year to complete, Ryan and his staff finished in five months. The new business opened on June 1, 2008 to rave reviews from the community.
Then everything changed. A few months later, the day after the presidential election, sales instantly dropped 60 percent as many project in Curry and Del Norte Counties were put on hold. In a few weeks, nothing had improved. While some retailers may have drastically slashed staffing numbers, Ringer decided to put employees ahead of profit and kept most of his team intact. Instead, he began an advertising campaign that targeted the do-it-yourself shopper market. He soon began earning more business and despite the construction recession beginning locally in 2008, Ringer has averaged a 10 to 15 percent sales transaction increases annually. “I knew I could not bring back or control new housing construction but I could attempt to control where and how people shopped for necessary household goods. Our advertising campaign is really designed to attract shoppers who would not necessarily think of us as a local destination for many of the advertised products. We are attempting to get new faces in our stores every day.” said Ringer.
Since then, Ringer has found more business opportunities, including a commercial/industrial division of Gold Beach Lumber and in 2014, he opened a third location in Port Orford, Oregon. Ringer purchased an existing hardware business and after an extensive remodel he has already increased sales approximately 40 percent from previous management.
In the community, Ringer’s enthusiasm matches that which he puts into his store. He serves on the board of directors for the Curry Health Network and supports the Curry County Health Foundation. On July 15, 2015, he was sworn in to his first term on the Curry School District board of directors. He is a major supporter of several local non-profits, focusing on a variety of youth programs. He is the president of the Southern Oregon Power Boat Association and in 2008 hosted the TREX World Boat Marathon Championships. This event brought thousands of people from around the globe to four local communities over the course of one week. Ryan has also participated as board member of Cedar Bend golf course for two years now.
“This program highlights the best of the best in the retailing industry. Manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers all anticipate the selection and celebration of the extraordinary accomplishments of the honorees,” says Bill Lee, NRHA President and CEO. “To be selected as a Young Retailer of the Year is a high honor. Ryan Ringer has shown the kind of enthusiasm and foresight that is moving our industry forward.”
The 19th Young Retailer of the Year awards banquet was held May 4, 2015, at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas prior to the opening of the National Hardware Show® and NRHA All-Industry Conference. For more information on the awards program, winners and show, please visit: www.nrha.org.
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