Our Story

True Value has a proud heritage of supporting the growth and success of independent retailers—it’s how we started, how we operate now and how we see the future. In an age of retail chains and big boxes, we understand that both retail and wholesale customers still value quality products, exceptional service and expert advice. This is the foundation of our business.

After seven decades working with independent hardware retailers, today’s True Value is not only a stalwart of the industry, but also has the experience, the relationships, and most importantly the network of independent stores to ensure a long and bright future for the business.

In 1948, John Cotter founded Cotter & Company, a retailer-owned company that included 25 independently-owned and operated stores. With the purchase of Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett in 1963, Cotter not only acquired the company, but also the True Value trademark—a long-standing brand and presence since 1932.

The business has continued to grow and evolve ever since, with a firm focus on supporting growth and profitability for independent hardware retailers.


  • 1916

    True Value's founder, John Cotter starts a neighborhood hardware store at age 12

  • 1948

    Cotter & Company founded with 25 member stores

  • 1963

    Cotter buys Hibbard, Spencer and Bartlett, acquires True Value trademark—an established brand since 1932

  • 1997

    Servistar Coast to Coast merges with Cotter & Company—now one of the industry’s largest dealer-owned buying groups

  • 2018

    ACON Investments acquires 70% stake in True Value, releasing over $230M back to co-op shareholders

  • Today
    • Over 4,000 customers in 60+ countries
    • Retail sales in their communities over $10 billion
    • More than 2,500 True Value Associates
    • Two annual Reunions (buying shows), seminars and promotions
    • A strategic plan for aggressive growth

We share True Value's passion for helping to ensure that the independent hardware retailer thrives for decades to come, even as times change and the competition gets tougher.

Aron Schwartz | Managing Partner, ACON

Today True Value Company, under the leadership of CEO Chris Kempa, is one of the world’s leading hardlines wholesalers with a globally recognized brand providing its customers in over 60 countries an expansive product set with market-customized assortments at highly competitive prices, superior product availability, innovative marketing programs and a la carte value-added services like local e-commerce, store remodel support and True Value University all within a flexible model which requires no membership.

Committed to long-term sustained growth and success, True Value serves more than 4,500 stores worldwide with retail sales in their communities, totaling about $10 billion, with 13 regional distribution centers and approximately 2,500 True Value Associates.

Interested in opening a True Value store?