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.

Issue link: http://hardwareretailing.epubxp.com/i/815244

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Page 140 of 224

HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2017 134 Hardware Retailing (HR): Can you give us a little background on your company and how you got involved in the business? Was this your first career choice? Scott Jerousek (SJ): You could say being an entrepreneur is in my blood. My grandfather is proof of that. Back in 1960, he believed so much in the idea of Farm & Home Hardware that he put the family farm up as collateral for his first loan. I started earning my keep about the same time I started walking. Back then, for the grueling job of dusting and stocking the shelves, I was paid with sandwiches and all the snacks I could eat. As the years passed, even though I worked retail to help out the family, I never thought it would be my career path. I thought a degree in finance was the way to go. I was intrigued with big business and the stock market, and the financial world encompassed both of my passions. However, my dreams of a degree from Ohio University were quickly put on hold due to my father's dwindling health. I returned home to help my family and to help the faltering business. HR: When did you decide this is what you wanted to do? SJ: As I grew up, I watched my father age much too quickly due to the stress of owning a small business. While trying to build a future for his family, he worked himself to the bone with little compensation. I still cherish our time together. He made me the man I am today. He taught me so much, but I knew that there had to be a better way. I learned to do things smarter, not harder. We started to implement training programs for our staff, and we realigned our key departments. Those small changes showed positive increases. Then the housing boom started. If you weren't seeing 10- or 15-percent increases every year, you must have been doing something wrong. Business growth was easy, but there was no way it could sustain at that pace. With a wary eye toward the future, we wondered what effect an economic downturn would have on the business. How do we prepare ourselves for life after the crash? That's when the analytical side really started to resonate with me, and suddenly retail became so much more interesting. I bought the business in 2008. As predicted, the market could not sustain, and the housing crash and recession started. It was time to put my theories to the test. HR: You emerged stronger from where you started after buying the business in 2008, growing top-line revenue from $3.8 to $5.3 million during one of the toughest economic times in recent memory. What are some of the growth opportunities you have your eye on for the future? SJ: I took a hard look at my business. Growth had slowed, and I needed to understand the factors. By utilizing market potential reports, I found that we had done a great job Farm & Home Hardware Wellington, Ohio Scott Jerousek

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