Northern Tool + Equipment’s CEO Suresh Krishna Charts Course for More Retail Spaces, Product Innovation, and Added Support to Build up the Future Skilled Trades Workforce

Suresh Krishna, President and CEO of family-owned Northern Tool + Equipment, is adding more power to the retailer-and-manufacturing company’s 40-plus year history through bold moves and innovation. Now two years into his role as CEO, Krishna is driving forward a focus of more retail spaces and embracing the brand’s innovative roots to develop battery-powered professional-grade equipment.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Suresh Krishna has brought financial growth and successful innovative strategies to propel the 40-year-old national retailer. (Photo: Business Wire)

Suresh Krishna has brought financial growth and successful innovative strategies to propel the 40-year-old national retailer. (Photo: Business Wire)

Krishna took helm of the company in April 2020 and has successfully navigated a pandemic and other challenges to capture successful results, including a 40 percent increase in revenue and the addition of 1.5 million new customers over the last two years.

In recent years, Northern Tool has also beefed-up its product inventory, from 40,000 items pre-Covid to more than 100,000 — spanning 60 categories that support the pros and serious DIY’ers who work in construction, landscaping, auto, electrical, welding and more. Krishna sees this deeper assortment as a key to keeping customers returning to Northern Tool.

“Northern Tool is proud to be a partner to our great customers, especially as our customers are the people who are at the frontlines building America,” said Krishna. “Our customers see success and pride in the work they do and the things they make with their own hands, and we are excited to be a part of that success.”

Boldly Leaning into More Brick-and-Mortar, While Surging Online Success

Northern Tool currently has 125 stores across nearly 25 states — primarily in the Midwest and Southeast. Looking forward, Krishna is aiming to expand Northern Tool’s brick-and-mortar locations, with a goal of 300-plus stores in the next decade.

In a June interview with HBS Dealer, Krishna said, “Northern Tool sees tremendous value in growing our retail footprint and is excited to add new stores in many new communities over the next decade. While other companies have pulled back from opening new stores, we have doubled down by demonstrating that we are a big believer in brick-and-mortar, with plans to have over 300 stores by the next decade.”

In parallel with its brick-and-mortar vision, Krishna remains focused on continuing the company’s online sales success — noting that 35 percent of the Northern Tool’s sales are via ecommerce.

“We have a saying that we were omnichannel before the term omnichannel existed, and that is demonstrated through our unique mix of retail spaces, catalog, online e-commerce and innovative distribution practices,” said Krishna.

Bringing Solutions to Supply Chain Challenges

During his time as CEO, Krishna has spearheaded solutions to address supply chain issues.

Krishna told Authority Magazine that a key to Northern Tool’s success was to pull out of the port of LA in early 2020, and explore other ports like Charleston and Houston, which opened up other options, including implementing on-shoring or near-shoring approach to sourcing.

And to further support its customers, Krishna has created storefronts to not only serve as excellent customer-centric hubs for pros and serious DIY’ers to seek out product solutions to their jobs, but also mini-warehouses. Via ship-to and ship-from strategies, Northern Tool retail spaces now provide more convenience and speed to customers, while lessening the burden on the company’s distribution centers.

Innovating, Back to the Future

Northern Tool’s founder Don Kotula started the company by creating an innovative log splitter — a desired piece of equipment in the time of the country’s energy crisis in the early 1980s.

Now, under Krishna’s leadership, Northern Tool will soon launch a battery-powered log splitter. The company is also working on more battery powered equipment, including agricultural sprayers.

“Northern is proud to manufacture its exclusive lines of pro-grade equipment here in the US, and with this, the company is embracing and innovating emerging technology with battery-powered electric equipment,” said Krishna. “Importantly, these innovative tools have come to life from our deep understanding — and listening — to our customers and their insights. It’s that understanding that has kept us moving forward.”

Building Up Support for the Trades

Another key focus of Krishna’s is adding more resources to support the future of the skilled trades workforce. Through the company’s Tools for the Trades program, Northern Tool has donated thousands of dollars to career and technical education programs across high schools in its retail footprint to give students hands-on experience with pro-grade tools.

“We believe it’s our duty to make sure we can help build the next generation of tradespeople,” Krishna told Retail TouchPoints. “We are creating an awareness that there are other career paths. These are good jobs, jobs where people can be their own masters as entrepreneurs. The ones who are building the future of our country are people who work with their hands building the country’s highways, roads, bridges and buildings. Skilled tradespeople are putting their heart and mind and soul into doing something and creating something.”

About Northern Tool + Equipment

Family-owned Northern Tool + Equipment, based in Burnsville, Minnesota, has been a leading supplier of high-quality tools and equipment for 40 years, providing the right product solutions through direct channels, online and through 125 retail locations across 23 states. Along with a deep selection of hand, power and air tools, Northern Tool + Equipment carries a wide variety of products to match every job from DIYers to commercial customers — with more than 100,000 tools ready to ship. In addition to its retail and online experience, Northern Tool is also a manufacturer of products through its private label brands of NorthStar, Powerhorse, Ironton, Klutch and more.

Learn more about Northern Tool + Equipment at and stay connected to Northern Tool through social media: