Hardware Retailing

MAY 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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HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2017 116 Urban Farmer decorate these areas. People look for roosts that are more festive with colorful stands, Matter says. Items made out of recycled materials and inventive sculptural items are also popular. Resources She Wants It's important for the store to have knowledgeable people and also to have educational materials on hand. An employee who can assist a customer who is just beginning as an urban farmer is a great asset, particularly if the customer is asking what animals and breeds they want to raise. From chicks to goats and beyond, there are different breeds within each species, and someone who can deliver on that kind of in-depth knowledge is very important. Building a collection of resource materials at the store that can help a customer even after they leave will help many first-timers on their way, Matter says. Partnerships She Values Supplying feed and shelter needs brings customers in, but being connected with others who tie into farming and livestock can be just as important. Even hardware retailers that carry chicks and ducks won't normally carry goats, Matter says. Being able to connect customers with breeders for different types of animals can garner attention for a store. Farmers will look for veterinarians who work with livestock, so having those connections is key as well. Then, particularly in urban farming, it's helpful to have contact with pet sitters who know how to care for urban livestock. "I am really looking for people to trust with my animals, so a recommendation from a retailer I'm familiar with can help," Matter says. "An event where a vet or pet sitter is in the store and can have a conversation with a customer helps establish that relationship." Darrell's Directions: "Education and connections are key for urban farmers. Be a resource of knowledge for them and have connections for anything you can't answer or supply. Those connections, combined with programs we conduct on different topics, like an introduction to raising chicks, is vital for us." "Make sure the customer knows the details. That means how large a coop needs to be for the number of chickens they want to raise. Educating customers up front on how to take care of their animals—that goes hand in hand with getting the sale." "Feed quality is different for backyard and urban farmers compared to other livestock farmers. A backyard farmer is looking for dried meal worms and other high-quality feed to supply their animals, while a farmer with a large flock wants their chickens to go find their own."

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