Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.
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HARDWARE RETAILING | March 2017 72 Last year, Stotler and the Meinecke brothers opened a new Village Ace Hardware store in Milwaukee. Customers walking into the store see a full paint and design area occupying about 2,000 square feet at the front, fully capable of serving the needs of any type of customer. While the first Village Paint & Design store had a hardware store next door, this latest store has it inside. Toward the rear of the store is 3,000-square-feet of hardware, which includes a full-line of hardlines categories in addition to a warehouse with a variety of bulk goods and convenience lumber. It's a perfect match. Many painters need a few other hardware items after they pick up their paint. "In addition to painting, many of our pro customers are changing out switch plate covers or replacing the vent covers after they finish a paint job," he says. "It's surprising how painters are doing a little bit of handyman work for their customers, much more than they might have 20 years ago. If they need those extra items, they might as well buy them here instead of going somewhere else." Just as importantly, after establishing a reputation among the professional painter community, Stotler believes he has a store where both the pro and retail customer can feel at home. In addition to the reputation his business carries as a destination paint store for the pro, he has an outside salesforce dedicated to commercial sales and a product line that goes deep into specialty paint products and sundries. An inviting showroom, a knowledgeable staff and an in-home design service makes the do-it-yourself painter feel comfortable shopping there as well. Each Village Paint & Design stores also offer window treatments. "The atmosphere around the paint counter is always positive," Stotler says. "Our paint counter is always busy. People are mingling and networking with each other, both pros and retail customers." Vendor Loyalty Stotler says he believes it would have been a mistake to try to include too many major paint brands on his shelves. He sells Benjamin Moore and Clark + Kensington ® , but says whatever vendor a paint retailer chooses, the more business they do with that vendor, the more opportunities they'll have to take advantage of pricing and special programs. With three trucks from Benjamin Moore arriving at his store every week, Stotler purchases enough to get volume discounts. His vendor also offers support when he pursues larger commercial accounts. Additional income opportunity by adding this established Home Improvement business to your store Sears Hometown Store Advantage • Add new product lines with No Inventory Expense • Attract a new customer base • Leverage your existing delivery service • District Manager, Field Team, Home Office, Vendor & online support • On line access to Sears Hometown full merchandise assortment • Exterior and interior signage provided • Local and national advertising support Visit us! Booth 8350 at the 2017 National Hardware Show May 9-11 in Las Vegas