You think you've got a lot of tools? The three super-size Berland's House of Tools near Chicago, where Dwight Sherman and Tim Landry run the show, each boast 30,000 square feet of tool space, housing 30,000 SKUs of tools from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. They should really be called Berland's Warehouse of Tools.

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Tim Landry and Dwight Sherman

Credit: Photo: Kevin O. Mooney

Berland's, which was selected as one of our World's Best Tool Stores in the November/December 2002 issue, is so big, Sherman says that to get a picture of an entire store, "You'd have to peel the roof off and photograph each store from a helicopter."

But more importantly, you won't find two guys with more knowledge or passion for what they sell. Along with their team of "Tool Counselors," these guys live to help contractors find the right tools for their jobs. "We're tool-nuts," admits Sherman. "That's a requirement for working here."

With so much inventory, covering so many categories, the sales specialists have to be the best. "Our Tool Counselors are former carpenters, masons, painters, plumbers, woodworkers, and electricians," Sherman says. "They love building stuff and that makes them part of our tool team." He proudly proudly points out, "The guys here are friendly, patient, and always point customers in the right direction."

Sherman and Landry's energy is infectious, and it runs much deeper than just a general guideline to customer service. They take it right to their customers: to the work they do and the tools they need to do it.

–Mark Clement