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An Interview With Joe Apolloni, Sr. VP Retail Stores At Northern Tool + Equipment

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Below is our recent interview with Joe Apolloni, Sr. VP Retail Stores at Northern Tool + Equipment:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: Northern Tool + Equipment is a family-owned company that’s been in business for more than 40 years. We’re a leading supplier of more than 100,000 high-quality tools and equipment for both DIYers and trades professionals. Our customers are tackling the tough jobs. We sell brands like Milwaukee and DeWalt, and we also manufacture our own line of tools and equipment featuring brands like NorthStar, Klutch and more out of our Minnesota MFG facility.

What really makes us special is our team. Our staff is highly-trained and has immense knowledge of our products, which allows us to help our customers with questions and recommendations as they tackle projects. We work with customers in-person at more than 130 retail stores across the country and online and over the phone through our fully-staffed contact center. Whether it’s helping someone get the right tool for the job or assisting with parts and repairs that keep tools running at peak performance, customer service is at the foundation of our mission.

Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: We’re very excited to have just opened a new store in Glendale Heights, Illinois. It’s located at 157 E North Avenue. The store opened to customers on March 25th, and we’ll have a grand opening on April 22nd.

This will be Northern Tool + Equipment’s fourth store serving customers in Illinois, and it’s part of our plan to open 80 more stores across the country in the next four years. We’re very excited about the Chicago area. We also plan to open in Bolingbrook and Gurnee later this year. Overall, we hope to have 8 to 10 stores in the Chicago area. There are a lot of highly-skilled tradespeople and DIYers in Chicagoland with an appetite for the high-quality tools and highly-trained staff we provide.

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Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?

A: Customer service is what really sets Northern Tool + Equipment apart. Our workplace is powered by a very knowledgeable staff dedicated to serving our customers, and we were recently named to the Forbes list of America’s Best Midsize Employers.

We’ve found that when people walk into our store, they don’t want to be pointed in a direction. They are looking for the support of a true partner who can help them think about the right product or tool for their project. With our Parts Service Repair (PSR) team expansion, along with our recent acquisition of Jacks Small Engines, we’ve created a place where people can come for assistance, parts, maintenance and repairs for the tools and equipment they rely on. That PSR team has the professional and industry knowledge to support the customers who walk through our doors every. We’re the experts for the experts, making us the right partner to help skilled workers solve their toughest challenges.

Q: What can we expect from your company in the next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: Northern Tool + Equipment is heavily investing in brick-and-mortar locations. We’re opening several stores across the country in the next six months as part of our plan to open 80 new locations in the next four years. Illinois and Texas are two important areas for us where we’ll have several openings, but we also plan to open more stores in states including Oklahoma and Kentucky. We’re targeting areas where we know there are highly-skilled tradespeople in need of a partner like Northern Tool.

We’re committed to brick-and-mortar because of the commitment to service that so many of our customers crave. Our approach is intentionally different. We provide our customers with a knowledgeable staff, an authentic atmosphere and a wide selection of professional-grade tools and equipment. They come back knowing they will receive quality service from our staff and that we will work with them to provide innovative solutions.

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Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: We’re committed to giving back to the industries we serve. We started our Tools for the Trades™ program in 2021 to help address the skilled trades labor gap by exposing students to potential careers in the trades. We’re partnering with schools that have career and technical education programs and providing students and instructors with the proper equipment for teaching the trades to the next generation. The program gives instructors professional-grade tools so they can give students an authentic experience. Our goal is to add a minimum of 11 schools per year to our Tools for the Trades™ program going forward. This program is supporting tradespeople by strengthening their ranks in the workforce.

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