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 74 Community involvement has always been a priority for Village Ace Hardware, and that didn't change when the Meinecke brothers introduced paint stores to their company. One service Stotler discovered he could offer the community was paint recycling. A local business in town accepts old latex paint and puts it through a special manufacturing process to create a UV protectant coating that can be applied to a variety of products. One year, says Stotler, his store helped collect 2,500 gallons of paint. He believes the program is having a positive impact, as residents are recycling their paint rather than dumping it. It also offers Stotler some insights into his customer base. "By seeing the cans of paint people bring in, we can see our market share in certain areas," he says. "If we see a lot of cans from another vendor coming from homes in a certain area, we can use that information to know how to target our advertising more effectively." Stotler also looks for new ways to present some of the tried-and-true events standard in most retailers' playbooks. For example, at his wine and cheese event, designers get together to talk about trends while enjoying an elegant snack. Or, he gives them a chance to give product feedback directly to the manufacturer, which is what happened when he invited a local tape manufacturer to hold focus groups with his customers as part of a product research project. When Stotler was planning a contractor appreciation event to celebrate the grand opening of the latest store, he wanted to offer more than just the standard hot dog and popcorn fare. He contacted a couple of local food trucks and paid them to cook up a lunch for his customers. "Doing that took the weight off my shoulders of planning a meal, and the price was comparable to a caterer," he says. "We got a great response from our customers. We'd like to use the idea for future events and expand it to more trucks." More than 150 contractors turned out for the grand opening, and the enthusiasm present at that event is evidence Village Paint & Design is not just another paint store. For the customers crowding around the paint checkout counter, it's now their first stop. CENTURY BRASS PLUMBING A C O M P L E T E L I N E O F H I G H Q U A L I T Y BRASS PLUMBING PRODUCTS A T V E R Y C O M P E T I T I V E P R I C E S . NATIONAL HQ: 721 BROADWAY AVE SUITE 3, HOLBROOK,NY. 11741 THREE CONVENIENT SHIPPING LOCATIONS: HOLBROOK, NY | LOS ANGELES, CA | HOUSTON, TX PLEASE CONTACT TERRY KLEIN FOR CATALOGS AND PRICE QUOTES. TELEPHONE: 800.794.0224 | FAX: 800.794.0208 | EMAIL: TERRY@CENTURYSALESMFG.COM w w w . l u m i n a n c e . u s . c o m COMPRESSION FITTINGS STEEL BRAIDED DISHWASHER, ICE MAKER & WASHING MACHINE HOSES DRYER, RANGE, DISHWASHER & POWER SUPPLY ELECTRICAL CORDS FLARE FITTINGS