Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Do It Best Corp. employs over 1,400 full-time staffers and can boast over 4,000 member locations throughout the United States and 53 countries. The lumber/hardware/building materials distributor's web site explains why it was founded back in 1945:
Do it Best Corp., formerly known as Hardware Wholesalers, Inc. (HWI), began as the vision of Arnold Gerberding. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1900, Gerberding worked in the hardware business from the time he graduated from high school in 1919. Working as a buyer, he faced many challenges and frustrations getting products at good prices to compete with the popular and rapidly growing catalog and retail chains like Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Montgomery Ward, Inc.
The company also believes in community service. Here are some examples of how Do It Best Corp. gives back to the communities it serves:
Big Brother, Big Sisters
Do it Best Corp. has been involved for many years with Big Brothers Big Sisters, particularly in the Lunch Buddy program. Do it Best Corp. president emeritus Don Wolf was a co-founder of the Northeast Indiana chapter of BBBS. Both Don Wolf and Do it Best Corp. president emeritus Mike McClelland have served on BBBS’s national board of directors, as has Bob Taylor, our current president and CEO.
Do it Best Corp. has long been a strong supporter of the United Way. Staff participate in annual pledge drives to help fund the organization’s endeavors. The United Way partners with community groups and volunteers to help children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities improve their lives by helping to meet their basic and emergency needs.
Junior Achievement helps young people understand the economics of life through hands-on experience. JA brings the real world to students, opening young minds to their potential. Many Do it Best Corp. employees donate time and effort to helping today’s youth better understand today’s business environment, either by serving on the local board or by working as volunteer teachers. Do it Best Corp. also sponsors the Do it Best® store in the Fort Wayne Exchange City program, a miniature town in which local youth elect a mayor and operate businesses.
In 1989, Do it Best Corp. president emeritus Don Wolf founded the Study Connection program, a volunteer-based effort that provides tutoring and mentoring for young people in need. This nationally acclaimed program is now being duplicated in communities across America. For one hour each week during the school year, Do it Best Corp. staff volunteers meet one-on-one with local elementary school students identified by their teachers as needing extra assistance. Each year, teachers and volunteers nominate outstanding student participants for Don Wolf awards. Do it Best Corp. has long supported the growth and development of this program, and offers its Fort Wayne facility for on-site education.
Start! Heart Walk
The Start! Heart Walk is a non-competitive walking event to benefit the American Heart Association. Participants in local walks around the country raise funds for heart disease and stroke research and education; 150 Do it Best Corp. staff, along with family members and friends, participate each year, raising tens of thousands of dollars in pledges.
Relay for Life
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is a team event that raises money for the American Cancer Society’s research and education efforts. Do it Best Corp. employees from both corporate headquarters and the retail service centers have participated in local Relay for Life events for many years.
Habitat for Humanity
In 2004, Do it Best Corp. selected Habitat for Humanity as its cause of choice. Habitat’s mission is to eliminate substandard housing around the world by providing decent, affordable shelter for those in need.