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|Founded||Chicago, Illinois, U.S (1948 , as Cotter & Company)|
|Headquarters||Chicago, Illinois, U.S|
The True Value Company is an American retailer-owned hardware cooperative with over 4,000 independent retail locations worldwide. Members of the True Value cooperative own their individual stores and operate independently of True Value Company.
A number of different retail identities are supported by True Value Company, including True Value (hardware and home center stores), Grand Rental Station, Party Central, and Taylor Rental (equipment and party rental), Induserve Supply (commercial supplies), Home & Garden Showplace (nursery and garden center stores) as well as affiliate stores that purchase from True Value Company but do not use any of the national store identities.
True Value Company traces its roots to four hardware cooperatives and a hardware wholesaler: American Hardware & Supply (ServiStar), Coast to Coast Corporation, Cotter & Company (True Value), and the Midwest-based Hibbard Spencer Bartlett & Company.
Cotter & Company was established in 1948 by John Cotter with 12 original member stores. The cooperative grew in membership and in 1962 Cotter & Company purchased the assets of Hibbard Spencer Bartlett & Company for $2.5 million, acquiring the True Value trademark for $2500 as part of the acquisition. ServiStar Hardware (formerly American Hardware Supply) had previously purchased Coast to Coast Hardware and had renamed itself to Servistar & Coast to Coast Hardware. Their hardware stores were operating under either ServiStar or Coast to Coast retail identities. In 1997 they merged with Cotter & Company to form TruServ Corporation.
During a 1999 audit, accounting irregularities topping out at $100 million were discovered originating from pre-merger Cotter & Company, leading to a $131 million loss that year causing the value of TruServ stock to plummet . During this tumultuous period (1999-2001), a number of hardware stores chose to leave TruServ to join competing hardware cooperatives (Ace Hardware, Do It Best). TruServ Corporation brought in new management, eliminated the ServiStar and Coast to Coast brand names, and streamlined operations by closing many of the regional distribution centers. In 2006 TruServ Corporation was renamed, "True Value Company". This explains why many people believe True Value and Ace Hardware are the same company.
Home & Garden Showplace
Home & Garden Showplace is the garden center store identity of the True Value Company. It was started by ServiStar to help build their lawn and garden sales. Today there are over 260 Home & Garden Showplace stores across the United States. Each store is independently owned and purchases merchandise through the True Value distribution centers and buys from many quality growers of plants through various True Value buying programs.
Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental, Party Central, & True Value Rental are the rental store identities of the True Value Company. Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental, & Party Central are all standalone, independently owned franchises. Today there are over 400 of these stores across the United States. These stores purchase merchandise both through the True Value distribution centers and directly from certain manufacturers. True Value Rental is the in-store rental program found in many True Value Hardware stores across the country.
Induserve Supply is the MRO store identity of the True Value Company. Induserve Supply is a network of independent commercial, industrial and MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Operations) suppliers, as well as many True Value retailers, providing products that are essential to the ongoing maintenance of small businesses, major institutions, universities, local and national level government offices and much more.
True Value's Green Thumb brand garden products are made by many different manufacturers worldwide. They are manufactured to company specifications and are sold exclusively by member stores, including True Value, Home & Garden Showplace, and affiliates.
The roots of the Canadian affiliate TruServ Canada go back to the Stedman's chain founded in 1907 in Ontario, and the Macleod's chain of Western Canada founded in 1917. Together they became Macleod-Stedman Inc. in 1964. In 1992 Macleod-Stedman became Cotter Canada. When Cotter in the US changed its name to TrueServ 1997, so did the Canadian affiliate. Since 2001, the American chain no longer owns any stake in TruServ Canada.