Hardware Retailing

AUG 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 | August 2017 36 Checkouts COMMUNITY RELATIONS Helping Eagles Earn Their Wings UNIQUE DISPLAY Stepping Into the Past L arry and Chris Drennen both achieved the rank of Eagle Scout when they were teenagers. Now, as owners of two stores in Pennsylvania—Oxford Feed & Lumber in Oxford and Brandywine Ace, Pet & Farm in West Chester—they want to help others accomplish that same milestone. To become an Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts must complete a service project, often involving some type of construction. The Drennen brothers set up a program where they offer to donate 20 percent of the cost of each Scout's project and then sell the remainder of the materials to the Scout at cost. They also help Scouts design the project and compile an appropriate list of materials for the job. They've worked with nearly 18 different Boy Scout troops between their two stores, and estimate they've helped hundreds of Scouts over the past 15 years. "We do quite a bit of community support; that's one of the key tenents of our business," Larry says. "Scouting is strong in our area," Chris says, "and we feel it's a very worthwhile program to support." W hen customers walk in to Schauer's Hardware, one unexpected turn can lead them to learning about the store's history. The Forest Park, Illinois, business has a second floor of wooden balconies overlooking the downstairs area, which owner Richard Schauer says "makes it very interesting to try and merchandise things." The balcony on one side contains the store's selection of grills. On the other is the employee kitchen and office—and an in-store museum showcasing the history of the business, which has been in the Schauer family since 1998 but has been a hardware store in that location since 1920. That second balcony was originally a storage space, but was converted into a museum at the urging of some customers, Schauer says. "Over time, we started organizing and displaying everything we'd collected. We have some old tools, original boxes of Borax—all kinds of things. We use the older bins and racks to showcase everything." Now, parents bring their kids upstairs to see manual registers, old filing cabinets and much more. "After 70-plus years of collecting, we have some cool stuff to show off," Schauer says. "We even have customers who bring us things to display." It's all part of having a hardware store that's a mix of original and modern, one of Schauer's goals. "We've done our best to keep it as original as possible. We have an unfinished concrete floor and the old-timey store smell. These are things that can be tough to recreate." Eagle Scout Garland Neil Hamilton (center) presented Larry (left) and Chris Drennen (right) a token of thanks for supporting his project. This manual register is just one of several items on display at the in-store museum at Schauer's Hardware.

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