In 1984, in a move that would change the company forever, Peavey Industries got some new owners: its very own employees. Four senior managers purchased the company from U.S.-based ConAgra. Norm Nilsson, Bob Reierson, Terry Jellicoe and Rick Anderson then piloted the company so skilfully that they are now fondly referred to as the company founders.
Anderson pulled double duty for Peavey and produced the next generation of leadership: in 2012, his son Doug became the president and CEO of the company. Since then, Doug Anderson has rocketed Peavey to big profits, thanks to moves like starting up the MainStreet Hardware banner and acquiring the TSC Stores chain and the master licence and distribution rights for the Ace Hardware brand in Canada. “Both acquisitions helped transition us from a regional player to a national retailer,” he says.
Peavey Marts sell everything from livestock feed and workwear to garden supplies and decor, while the Ace stores are a blend of traditional hardware stores, building centres and country and garden stores. “Our product mix is tailored to the rural and down-to-earth lifestyles,” says Anderson. The result? Last year saw them hit half a billion dollars in revenue.
Like the four founders before them, employee-owners are a crucial part of success of the business, which is based in Red Deer, Alta. In 2016, Peavey Industries restructured into a partnership model and introduced broad-based employee ownership through a private mutual-fund trust. This model allows all employees to become owners of Peavey Industries. Currently, approximately 10 per cent of the 1,000 full-time employees have bought into the company as employee-owners, according to Anderson. “Being an employee-owned company allows our people to be connected to the company beyond their role or position,” he says. “It allows our employees to grow as the company grows, which means there is a win-win relationship.”
Peavey provides an array of in-house education options, including management courses to help employees learn emotional intelligence and listening skills, and inclusivity training to foster a more equitable work environment. Peavey employees have also formed a “by employee, for employee” society called Peavey Cares, which supports employees in need. Members of Peavey Cares contribute through payroll deduction to the society, which provides confidential financial assistance. The pandemic has meant there are more employees in need, but Peavey is right there to help out. “We instituted a COVID fund to support our front-line employees by allowing them to take additional time off, no questions asked,” says Anderson. “This allowed our employees additional flexibility as they navigated the challenges presented to them.”