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Hot seat: Handy Hardware looks for new leader

The search is on for a new leader at Handy Hardware Wholesale, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month. 

In an unusual step, the Houston-based co-op’s search committee “has established that former employees of Handy will not be considered for this position,” wrote current president and CFO Tommy Schifanella in a letter to vendors. “It is our goal to bring outside talent to the organization as we move into our future.”

Among the qualifications sought are “a strategic visionary with sound technical skills, analytical ability, good judgment and a strong operational focus.”

Whoever is tapped will face the difficult challenge of bringing a co-op distributor back from bankruptcy in a field where there is no shortage of distributor competition. 

According to Handy’s bankruptcy filing, the list of Handy creditors holding the largest unsecured claims is topped by American Water Heater Co. with an amount of $1.4 million. Also in the top six are Southwire Company  ($620,000), Averitt Express ($611,000), Charlotte Pipe & Foundry ($385,000) and PrimeSource ($365,000).

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