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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July 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 57 Camille Gibson General Manager Mark's Ace Hardware Tucson, Arizona Multiple-Store Operations W hen Camille Gibson started part-time at Mark's Ace Hardware 10 years ago, she thought it would be a short-term gig to get her through college. Today, she's accomplished great achievements and has been instrumental in the growth of the company. Gibson worked side by side with owner Mark Rios to open a second store location and transform the business into a functional multistore company in 2016. She assisted with designing the new space, planning merchandising and selecting the product mix. She also oversaw hiring, ensuring the new store was staffed with high-quality employees, all while taking care of integral back-end details, like opening new bank accounts and acquiring licenses to get the new store up and running. Gibson strives to continuously improve the business. She's implemented 18 major department resets and has expanded niche categories including candles, coolers and pet and bird supplies. She also started a clip-strip program that increased sales more than 300 percent for the category. "Customers leave our store with more than just merchandise. They leave with knowledge about the product they have purchased and confidence in the decisions they make while shopping at our stores," she says. Additionally, Gibson has increased sales by implementing a new business-to-business strategy, and she has driven cost-savings by revamping back-end procedures. For example, she brought bookkeeping in-house, adjusted the company's hiring strategy and converted the stores to LED lighting throughout. Gibson is respected by her staff. Employee retention has increased by 35 percent since she became general manager. She is also highly valued in her community. She and her team volunteer at local events to support law enforcement and the environment, among other causes. She also lead the store to participate in an annual shop-local celebration for area businesses. "I am proud of the stores that we have created and the people I work with. I look forward to more challenges and opportunities ahead."

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