Hardware Retailing

APR 2017

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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• Store Location Ellwood City, Pennsylvania. This is the first store the Posts purchased in 1991. The town is rural, with farmers making up a large portion of the customer base. A warehouse behind the building houses many of the rental items used by all locations. • Challenge The salesfloor at Ellwood City is long and narrow. There's an expansion at the back with fishing equipment and pet supplies, as well as the core rental category. But the chief challenge for store manager Steve Lemanski is finding ways to utilize the store's limited space to stock more merchandise. The salesfloor also offers few opportunities for traditional impulse merchandisers such as endcaps, dump bins or bulk displays. He doesn't want to waste floor space, but he also doesn't want the store to feel too crowded. • Strategy When Lemanski thinks about driving sales through merchandising, he relies on his creativity. Before coming to T & M, he worked for both Home Depot and Lowe's, so he was accustomed to working with the space of a big box. His strategy for the Ellwood store focuses on driving more impulse sales and tapping into the creativity of his staff. Cut the crowding with narrow shelves. Near the front of the store, Lemanski wanted a way to increase his shelf space while also promoting his housewares department and some seasonal goods. Since the area he had in mind didn't have enough space for traditional retail shelving, he set up two back-to-back rows of narrow, open metal shelving, the type typically sold for home organization. He stocks both housewares, such as kitchen totes, along with seasonal items, such as portable heaters. "The shelves are shallow and don't take up as much space as a typical gondola, but they can still hold a lot of merchandise," he says. "I'm able to make good use of what was otherwise dead space. It's allowed us to add another 40 linear feet of merchandise to the front of the store." Since the shelves are near the front of the store, every customer will see them. Most of the items on these shelves are those customers might not expect to see in his hardware store, giving them a new reason to come back. Your staff's got talent. Lemanski doesn't try to come up with all of the good ideas on his own, either. He encourages his staff to contribute. One of his employees, for example, uses her creativity to make unique lamps Lemanski places strategically in visible locations to grab shoppers' attention. They are usually Pinterest-inspired projects that are easy for customers to replicate or even purchase. HARDWARE RETAILING | April 2017 50 Solutions for Crowded Spaces Narrow metal racking is the solution for filling a space in the store that was too narrow for standard metal gondolas.

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