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 152 Hardware Retailing (HR): Can you give us a little background on your company? Was this your first career choice? Matt Woods (MW): I am fourth generation. My family started a locksmith business in 1933. As a kid, I was always in the store cutting keys, cleaning up brass and being underfoot of my father and grandfather. I actually went to college and majored in marketing and sales and ended up going to Florida, living there for 10 years and taking a job as a financial advisor. That was my first career choice. But after having our first child, my wife and I realized we wanted to be in more of a family working environment where I wasn't just a number and could control my own destiny. We were a locksmith and door company up until 2006. But when many of the small, urban hardware stores in downtown Cincinnati were closing, my parents had the foresight to open a convenience hardware store as part of our locksmith business. It made sense because many of our customers were either maintenance or janitorial guys who needed other hardware items. Then several years later it became very popular to move back to the urban corridor, and we started seeing a huge swell of new residents and new businesses popping up as the downtown was growing. HR: You recently moved your existing 1,500-square-foot store to a larger, 8,000-square-foot location down the street. How did this move come about? MW: At the time this opportunity presented itself, we were actually thinking of expanding to a 3,000-square-foot store. We started talking to all of our customers, some of whom are property managers, and one of them let us know about a building right around the corner that was 8,000 square feet. They said they would give us the deal of a lifetime, and that they just wanted to do the development work. When I walked in, I was floored by the space, and the rest is history. It was half a block away, and we didn't know about it. We purchased that building in November 2015 and wrapped up construction in November 2016. We opened for business in the new store in January of this year. HR: At the same time, an opportunity to acquire a well-established, four-store hardware operation presented itself. MW: I'll never forget it. I was in Indianapolis attending the NRHA Young Retailer Roundtable in the fall of 2015, where one of the topics for discussion was acquisitions. When I was driving home from that meeting, I got a call from my co-op's sales rep, who said there was an opportunity to acquire a four-store hardware chain in Cincinnati. It was a chain owned by the Small family, and we felt that the opportunity was a perfect fit for our business plan. At first we only wanted two of the four stores, but as part of the Woods Hardware Cincinnati, Ohio (Six locations) Matt Woods

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