During the last few days, Knoxville lost a true business visionary, Don Charles Hasson. He is the grandson of the founder and the son of a president of House-Hasson Hardware Company. When Don Charles became president of the company in 1986, there were over 100 wholesale hardware distributors in the U.S. Today, there are only a dozen remaining.
House-Hasson today inventories 50,000 items which are distributed to over 2,500 hardware companies in all states east of the Mississippi River with the exception of New England. The company is even a major supplier to over 20 countries in the Caribbean islands, including the well-known Cayman Islands and Belize. Today the company employs over 400 people at its Forks of the River location. Learn about the company’s 100-year history here.
How did this happen?
Don Charles led a company from archaic, outmoded methods of doing business. The company’s long-time location was on Western Avenue across from the L&N Station. It consisted of a hodgepodge of multistory buildings. Prior to one of Knoxville’s largest fires, Don Charles moved the company to the Forks of the River industrial park. The only remaining building at the Western Avenue location is the well-known Foundry, one of Knoxville’s premier entertainment venues.
Due to Don Charles’ leadership, the massive single-story building at the Forks is totally computerized with state-of-the-art warehouse equipment.
Over the years, House-Hasson acquired six additional hardware companies. How were the acquisitions accomplished? The company has always adhered to fiscal conservatism. This began with the founder, Charles Hasson. “Money in the bank never goes out of style … steer away from debt.”
Remember, they acquired these acquisitions quietly. What a benefit to the Knoxville community!
He, Don Charles Hasson, CEO for 34 years, made an indelible mark within this industry, all the while competing against “big boys” the likes of Ace Hardware.
I should add that Don Charles had a wonderful, rich spiritual background. His grandfather, parents and uncle were all devoted members of the downtown First Baptist Church. They emphasized Christian values … INTEGRITY. The family for many years has supported many worthy causes including their church, KARM, King’s Academy and numerous other charitable causes. I was his Sunday School teacher. He and his wife, Cathy, and I and my wife, Judy, had many wonderful times together. Obituary info here.
Don Charles Hasson was an impact player and a great friend. He will be greatly missed.
Joe Johnson is co-owner of A&W Supply Company.