A&H Turf & Specialities: The Nuts and Bolts of Growing a Business

November 8, 2017 Posted by kyu7

In 1984 Dave Anderson and his dad, Al, founded A&H Turf & Specialties just a stone’s throw from where the main building stands today. As the name implies, the business originally centered on irrigation supplies and equipment. Along with sprinkler heads, fittings, and pipe, A&H sold a few related hardware items, such as shovels, fasteners, and sandpaper.

By 1988, the business had expanded into power tools and hand tools. In the years since, A&H has expanded to stock and supply full lines of tools, hardware items and equipment representing at least 475 major manufacturing firms around the world. But rather than concentrating on how many products they can cram into the warehouse, showroom and surrounding acres, A&H has always focused on supplying quality products from industry leaders.

Quality Sells

A glance at the many shelves and displays in the main store says it all. Respected names, like Blum, Festool, 3M, Accuride, Rain Bird, DeWalt, Freud, Stanley, Amerock, Belwith Keeler, Schlage, Baldwin, Emtek, Schaub & Company make up the A&H inventory line. What you won’t see are the inferior quality tools usually found at famous discount centers.

Dave Anderson explains why: “We’re simply not interested in carrying the low-end imported hardware or supplies. It doesn’t last.” Tools and hardware that last and that get the job done has proven to be a good market, so far.

Blum hardware is a good example of the quality products A&H is proud to carry. Made in Austria, Blum hardware is very high end, world famous for its quality. Dave says that A&H Turf and Specialties has been seriously involved with Blum since the beginning. In fact, A&H sold the first Blum hardware and machinery available west of the Mississippi.

And it’s not just about selling products. Today, A&H continues to provide continuing education training from Blum to employees in contact with hardware buyers and installers. They can readily assist contractors and homeowners with the specs and tolerances required for proper hinge applications and installation.

Hardware in the Blood

Dave and his dad both had a good deal of previous hardware experience before starting A&H Turf & Specialties. Dave says, “I’ve been in the hardware business all my life, since I was 12. I’ve got 37 years experience in functional, building, and irrigation hardware.” And he’s not just blowing smoke.

Dave worked his way through college installing irrigation and sprinkler systems, having learned the trade at a previous job with a Billings hardware company. His dad, Al, was the general manager of Winter Hardware when Dave got out of college. They worked there together for a while before deciding to start A&H Turf & Specialties. The new company opened its doors in a rented building just about a block from where the business now stands.

Survival in those early days was not without hard work. Dave says that the product lines were developed one at a time, selling face to face, with many miles spent on Montana and Wyoming roads. Within a few years though, A&H was able to buy the land it sits on today. The first new building gave the business 15,000 sqft to work with. Expansion continued as sales improved and more products were added, until now A&H fills over 40,000 sqft inside space, plus the uncovered storage outside.

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