After nearly 20 years with the company, Distribution America (DA) CEO Dave Christmas will be retiring at the end of 2022. In celebration of his long-time service in the independent home improvement channel, Hardware Retailing talked to Christmas about his career and collected well wishes from several industry partners.
Christmas was hired in September 2003 as president and CEO of DA. During his tenure, he says he has enjoyed being involved in the evolution of new concepts for distributors and manufacturers, giving them the tools to help retailers prosper in a challenging marketplace.
“It’s been rewarding being a part of everything from more impactful promotions to reducing the cost of doing business to technology enabling retailers and distributors to be far more flexible in the way they market their own businesses to their consumers,” he says.
During his time with the organization, Christmas was instrumental in the creation of Hardlines Distribution America (HDA), which was formed with the merger of DA and PRO Group in April 2022.
“The consolidation across vendors, distributors and retailers has been the biggest factor in most everything we have done, which culminated with the creation of HDA,” Christmas says.
During retirement, Christmas says he is looking forward to spending more time with his family, including his three children and four grandchildren who all live in Charlotte.
“From a business perspective, I definitely want to stay involved in the hardware channel wherever possible while setting aside some time for golf,” he says. “There are so many people who have helped me throughout my career. I especially want to thank the DA team and the members of DA for all their support. I also want to give special thanks to Don Hasson for giving me the opportunity to come to DA nearly 20 years ago.”
Best Wishes to Dave Christmas
“We wish Dave nothing but the best as he moves on to this next chapter. He has been a fixture in the industry, a strong advocate for independent dealers and has always been a big supporter of NHPA’s efforts. We will miss his influence, support and friendship, but we know that he will fully enjoy his retirement.”
—Bob Cutter, president and CEO, North American Hardware and Paint Association
“The first thought that comes to mind as I reflect on Dave as the president of DA is the fact that he was always available! If I or House-Hasson ever needed anything, I could get Dave involved and know that it was handled. He really cares about anything and everything that was a concern to us, and I found comfort in knowing that Dave was always looking out for our best interest. Dave was passionate about making DA successful, and I am grateful to count him as a friend and associate.”
—Steve Henry, president and CEO, House-Hasson Hardware Co.
“Dave’s approachable and easygoing personality has fostered friendships with colleagues throughout the industry. He is a quick study with keen analytical insights that have served DA and HDA well over his tenure. His quick wit and humor will be missed, but we are looking forward to staying in touch as he embarks on this next chapter.”
—Steve Synnott, CEO, HDA
“I met Dave Christmas during a DA line review back in 2003 when I was less than two years into my career. It was my first larger scale line review, and as I sat across the table from both Dave and his category manager at the time, I was immediately put at ease. I’d already had many contentious meetings at this point with other customers, but Dave and his staff made it clear from the start these would be friendly discussions and the overall goal was to set up a program that would be in the best interests of DA’s members and help them grow our categories. This would end up being a theme with Dave over the next 20+ years of working in this industry.
I have met very few people who are both extremely sharp and overwhelmingly easy to get along with; Dave Christmas is one of those few. I seriously doubt there is a single person in my professional life who I have learned more from, and I’m sad to see him go, but wish him the best.”
—Todd Hermon, vice president of sales, Prime Wire & Cable
“Working with Dave has been a true pleasure. Dave’s priorities were always in the best interest of DA and our industry; he understood the importance of the independent wholesaler and retailer. Dave is a class act, and I am proud to call him a friend.”
—Steve Geismar, president and CEO, PACOA
“Dave Christmas was a valuable asset and employee of our member-owned buying group, Distribution America, over the past 19 years. With him having the knowledge and experience within our industry before being hired at DA back in 2003, he managed our group in continuing to grow, despite challenges with our membership declining over the last few years, but not in overall purchasing power.
In having the opportunity of being the chairman of DA twice during Dave’s tenure, we worked closely together over the years to grow the group, while continuing to show the vendor community that we provided value. Over the last months of Dave’s employment with DA, he was very involved in helping us form HDA, combining all the core strengths that both DA and PRO provide its members, vendor partners and the retailers that each distributor serves.
I wish Dave a wonderful retirement, and thank him for his contributions, not only for everything that he did for us during his time at DA, but for his service to our industry for the past 50 years.”
—Jonathan Mize, CEO and president, Blish-Mize Co.
“I have been in the hardware industry ever since I was about 5 years old working in my family’s hardware store. Dave Christmas is the resident expert when it comes to the hardware business and is one of the smartest and most forward-thinking people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. His extensive experience on the vendor and distribution sides of the business, combined with a spirited casual approach to his work, has developed a huge list of colleagues and friends in this great industry. I will truly miss working with him on a daily basis and am grateful for all of his contributions to our business.”
—Paul McNally, director of vendor development, HDA
“We worked together in the industry going back 35 years when he was our sales leader at Cooper Tools. Dave, more than anyone, connected with his people and made the hardware industry fun. I will miss his sense of humor and the good times spent together.”
—Patrick O’Reilly, director of sales, Apex Tool Group