Hardware Retailing

JUL 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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I recently had an important decision to make. I found myself in need of a chainsaw, and not just because I have a beard. There were a bunch of trees from the western edge of the Tratensek compound that my wife and I had cut down late last fall that still needed processing. Solution: Buy a chainsaw. But whether or not to purchase a chainsaw wasn't the important decision I faced. The decision I faced was where and how to make that purchase. For me, the decision was actually a pretty easy one. I went to my local hardware store and made my purchase. Before heading down to the store, though, I did some research online and checked out other options. So why is my chore list and new chainsaw in any way important? Because the process I went through to purchase this tool was no different than the process any consumer goes through. I had a need. I did research online. I looked at multiple options. I went and made my purchase. The difference for me is that I understand how important it is to patronize independent businesses, and I also understand that there are certain advantages inherent to shopping locally. Unfortunately, most other consumers looking to buy chainsaws, power drills, kitchen faucets or light bulbs might not understand any of this. They make their decisions about where to purchase based solely on the prices they see online and the convenience of where to get that item. I bring this up because I truly believe that one of the things we can all do in this industry is to educate consumers the way I have been educated. We need to tell them about how convenient it is to shop at a local hardware store. We need to debunk the myth that big boxes always have better prices (in fact, the chainsaw I bought was $3 cheaper at the local store than the big box). And, we need to make them aware that, when they spend money at a local home improvement store, more of that money remains in the local economy. This last point is also the subject of this month's feature, beginning on Page 38. In this story, we look at the new Home Sweet Home Pros' Edition Study. This research is a follow-up to the Home Sweet Home Study NRHA conducted in 2015 with Independent We Stand. Both of these studies prove a dollar spent at a local merchant has a far greater impact on the local economy than when that dollar is spent at a big box. Here's the problem though. None of this information or the ideas about shopping locally that I mentioned above mean a thing unless consumers are aware of them. That's why the 35,000+ independent home improvement retailers have to help share this information. It's great to send out circulars, tweets and emails about sales and promotions, but don't forget consumers also need to be educated about the value of shopping locally. And we are here to help. Together with groups like Independent We Stand, NRHA offers a variety of tools (from posters to press releases) that you can use to spread the word to your consumers about the impact of shopping locally. Just visit the TheRedT.com/pro-shop-local. So, what are you waiting for? Let's get out there and start chopping some trees. Dan M. Tratensek, Publisher dant@nrha.org Keep Chopping Away at Consumer Misconceptions Taking Care of Business " I understand how important it is to patronize independent businesses, and I also understand that there are certain advantages inherent to shopping locally. " HARDWARE RETAILING | July 2017 10

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