Taylor Baker, owner of Foothills Hardware & Builders Supply in Pilot Mountain, was recently named one of the independent home improvement industry’s eight 2018 Young Retailer of the Year honorees by the North American Retail Hardware Association.
The program, in its 22nd year, identifies and promotes the next generation of aspiring independent home improvement retailers. It recognizes individual achievement by industry retailers age 35 and younger throughout the U.S., its territories and Canada. Selected from different retail categories, honorees are chosen based on a number of criteria, including professional milestones, community engagement, continuing hardware industry education and extracurricular activities.
Baker grew up working in his father’s hardware business and has been dusting shelves and cleaning counters since he could walk. He wasn’t sure that he wanted a long-term career in the home improvement industry, but after he earned his business administration degree, Taylor’s family friend and Orgill president and CEO, Ron Beal, offered him a job at the company.
After many years working in marketing and later as a corporate accounts manager for Orgill, Taylor and his family moved back home to North Carolina. They purchased a local surplus salvage yard in January 2015, and Taylor began transforming it into what is now Foothills Hardware & Builders Supply.
One of Foothills Hardware’s top departments is lumber and building materials, and contractor sales are continuing to rise.
“Taylor prides himself on offering some of the best building materials in the county,” the association said in announcing the recognition.
“Taylor offers a variety of high-quality outdoor power equipment brands, and is vastly growing his paint department. Additionally, he offers cabinets, flooring, windows, doors and a kitchen and bath design center to provide customers everything they need to complete large-scale projects affordably and efficiently,” the association said.
“I’m an attitude guy,” Taylor said. “We look at attitude when hiring someone and want to surround ourselves with people who have a positive outlook. As long as they have a good attitude and can take care of the customer, we can train them on the rest,” he said of his staff, which numbers 25 now.
Taylor and the Foothills Hardware & Builders Supply team regularly give back to the community. They work with Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts by donating materials for various projects. They sponsor the local high school football and little league teams. Additionally, Baker and his staff work with the local Young Life group, EMS and fire department, and they participate in the local Christmas parade and other community events.
“Running a home improvement business is no easy task, and what Taylor has been able to achieve in just a few years is incredible,” says Scott Wright, executive director of the Retail Leadership Institute at the national association. “He’s highly deserving of the Young Retailer of the Year award, and NRHA is thrilled to honor him.”