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 148 customers who didn't want to deal with me back then, who I now see in the store every day and who ask for my help. Seal Beach is very close-knit, and change is hard. But we were becoming more businesslike, and we were doing a lot of things to make the store better, and eventually people started realizing it. These changes were always with the best intent to make things better. There is no doubt that the store would not be here today if we hadn't made these improvements and changes. Then, in late 2013, we purchased a second store in Palos Verdes Estates, about 20 miles north of Seal Beach. HR: Like your father, did you feel a need to return to the family business after initially pursuing a very different career path? DBN: There is just something really cool about this business. It works for my family. My grandmother started at Craftwood, and my mom worked there in high school, which is how my dad got involved. All of us kids grew up there, and I feel it takes a really special kind of person to own and operate an independent hardware store. You have to be kind of weird or very unique. I can't explain it. You have to know everyone, and everyone has to like you. That's why they keep coming back. HR: What unique challenges do you think independent retailers face in today's market? DBN: I think the biggest one is staying relevant. We need to find ways to make sure people know we're here and that they continue to shop with us. We also have to do the things people expect us to be doing, such as having a nice website and a social media presence, offering special services, price matching and stocking certain products. There is also the challenge of being the "old school" store everyone remembers from their childhood. That isn't always a good thing, when customers expect a modern-looking store with good lighting and signage and clean floors. You have to look at it from the customer's perspective. For independents who have been in the same location for a long time, the hardest thing is opening your eyes and trying to see the store like you are seeing it for the first time. Another challenge facing independents is that we have a really hard time finding qualified, awesome people. I was reading an article about how difficult it is to find qualified tradesmen, as young people aren't choosing that career path. I think the same is true for our industry. Branching Out When she was young, Diana's family moved from California to the Chicago suburbs to join the family business, Craftwood Lumber. They vowed to return one day to California. In 2009, her father stumbled upon a store for sale near where they used to live. Newton had to work hard to break into a tight-knit town. She embraced the local community by getting involved in community organizations.

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