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 138 with experienced owners is paramount to our growth in the future. Eventually, I can see Farm & Home Hardware with five or six locations. HR: Outside of acquiring new hardware stores, what are some of the other growth opportunities you are pursuing? SJ: Independent business is demanding in hardware and in all other fields. We have grown significantly by identifying these opportunities. Both independent garden centers and outdoor power dealers deal with the same issues. How do they remain relevant and profitable with increasing big box competition? Business is booming for a portion of the year and dead in others. It's difficult to deal with these ebbs and flows and still remain profitable. Our parents had great work ethic. They had no problem working 50 to 60 hours a week to build a business. Their children would like a better return on their investment, and have moved on to build their own careers. With that, there has been a huge change in the retail landscape. We looked at these opportunities as pillars of our business for the future. We needed departments that could compete with big-box chains. We are able to offer the same uniqueness as other independent stores, but we don't need to support the entire business with any one pillar. I feel appliances and furniture are great opportunities, too. Again, customers are looking for a personal experience at a store they can trust. We offer service for everything we sell, so the opportunity for additional transactions is there. With the decline of Sears and other appliance stores, there has been a huge hole that needs to be filled. The big-boxes have seen the benefits of appliances. I feel we can offer people another viable option. It's all about the operating efficiencies. We have a current service program in place for our outdoor power department. We deliver, we sell the parts and we can repair your equipment. Adding appliances to the mix should be interesting. I love the challenge. HR: Can you talk about the value and importance you place in furthering your education and networking with other independent retailers? SJ: I'm a big believer in networking with other critical thinkers. My first mentor in hardware was a numbers guy who taught me about the analytical side of the business. I still run ideas by him. Over the last five years, I've focused on personal growth and recognized the importance of working on the business. Running the operation from 30,000 feet has helped me develop our staff and programs to prepare us for the future. Dealing with other people in the industry who are the best at what they do is imperative for the continued success of my business. The best way to overcome obstacles is to learn from other retailers. NRHA is championing the cause of independents and facilitating discussion. We are all facing the same issues, and by working together as independent retailers, it's going to make us, and our industry, stronger. I believe your customers can love your business only if your staff loves it first. There are many different business models to follow, but the ones that have enduring success are the ones where employees felt valued. Invest in your culture, and it will reflect on your bottom line. While lawn and garden is a pillar department, Jerousek looks to other categories to supplement sales during the off season.

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