by Marissa Lorenz
In today’s world, young business leaders are often imagined to be
the inventors of some new gadget, the founders of a visionary start-up, or the risk-takers of a previously unimagined venture. They are thought of as self-promoters and marketers, loudly branding and promoting themselves and their
new idea for maximum profit.
It is more unusual to come across a “disruptor,” one who can successfully change the way a long-standing business functions, and even more rare to find the quiet innovators, those who invent, found, and take risks not just for the business they operate, but for the customers they serve. Kremmling’s Rory Menhennett is one of these latter, unobtrusively making waves in one of the most foundational of businesses– hardware.
A native of Kremmling, Rory is the descendent of early area pioneers and intrepid entrepreneurs. His forebears were not only ranchers but owned a livery and feed store, various lodgings, and offered mosquito control. They were integral in the build-up of the town, donating land for the fairgrounds, the airport,
the fire department; founding the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo; and constructing the area’s first water storage reservoir. So it is no wonder that that forward-thinking spirit would be manifest in Rory as well.
Rory now serves as the Vice-President of Kremmling’s Northwest Ranch Supply Inc., the family-owned store founded by his parents, Tim and Tami, in 1992. But it is not “business as usual,” as he has become more integrated in the company operations.
“Rory wants to carry on what his parents have done. But he’s really taken the angle that he wants to use his store as a way to help build and serve his community. He’s one of the most service-minded retailers that I’ve met,” notes Dan Walton, Digital Communications Specialist of Do-It Best, national partner of Northwest Ranch Supply. “He won’t tell you how good he is, but he is really good at what he does.”
So good that Walton traveled to Kremmling from Indiana this year to interview Rory, his co-workers and contractors, making a professional video and nominating Rory for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) “Young Retailer of the Year” program.
“I’ve written our nominations for about 15 years,” explains Walton. “And just as in sports, where there’s a lot of great players, but only a few MVPs, in retail, there are a lot of talented people, but the folks really making things happen are doing something special, like they’ve got an extra gear to their game.”
“One of the things about Rory is how community-minded he is. He really wants to better the store, in order to better the community,” Walton observes. “He has gone through every item in the store, re-ordering and rearranging them to be more relevant and accessible to the customers. He has taken a very holistic approach to the business, knowing that as the business grows, they can create more jobs and better support other area businesses–the whole local economy will grow.”
Rory was one of two nominations made by Walton for the 2020 NRHA Young Retailer award, one among the tens of thousands of associates of Do-It Best, the world’s second largest hardware co-op with thousands of stores in the US and in 50 countries.
“Rory has learned from his parents and then carved out a spot for himself. He examines how things are being done and will make necessary changes. He’s not afraid to innovate. His contractors and co-workers rave about him,” praises Walton.
As for his part, Rory talks little about himself. He describes his interest in continuing his family’s legacy to the community as “wanting to help out the people that I know, the people in the town, the surrounding areas, and to be a part of their great projects. It’s cool to be part of the growth of the community and the growth of the people we’ve grown up with.”
“Kremmling has a lot of room for continued growth, from housing to business potential-though not too much!–becoming better overall. As for the store, we are always looking for ways to expand, to bring in more products, and to better serve the community. We work hard at team-building
and work hard at what we do.”
And he serves the community in other ways as well. Rory is an active participant in the Menhennett Foundation, which organizes the annual Glenn Menhennett Golf Classic, in order to raise scholarship funds for local high school graduates. And he serves on the board for the Kremmling Cattle Kings Hockey Club, an organization for which he played as a youth and which he doesn’t want “to see die.”
“Rory works hard and is the most humble guy I know,” summarizes Dakota Docheff-Cordle, Northwest Ranch Supply Store Manager. “He is a fantastic boss, always willing to listen to reason, and has a soft spot in his heart for taking care of his community. He busts out contractor quotes efficiently and quickly to keep our customers as happy as possible.”
Even though Rory was not chosen as one of the NRHA’s seven finalists this year, Walton concludes, “I think we’ll hear a lot about Rory in the future. He continues to see the big picture, continues to see ways to expand and be successful for the whole community. He’s got a lot ahead of him. You’re very fortunate to have him in your community.”