Hardware Retailing

SEP 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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Page 76 of 118

HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2017 72 R ecreational vehicle enthusiasts are all about transporting their comfort. They want to see the world while always having home close by, making RVs their ideal mode of transportation. For Greg Forsythe and Westmart Building Center, serving these travelers and consumers is all about providing comfort-giving items such as home accessories and outdoor entertainment pieces, while also stocking niche items needed to supply a life on the road. The business is located in one of several hubs of activity surrounding Yellowstone National Park. Sitting just outside the western edge of the expansive park, West Yellowstone, Montana, shrinks to around 1,000 residents in the winter months and balloons to around 11,000 during the summer. This doesn't count visitors who stay in the dozens of hotels, campgrounds and RV parks outside the town's borders. These area housing options serve vacationers looking to have fun in the famous park and surrounding wilderness. However, part-time residents and seasonal visitors aren't Westmart Building Center's sole customer base. Because of its lumber department and wide array of paint offerings, the store does a large amount of business with local contractors and carpenters. Yet planning for the busy summer selling season is a huge factor to Westmart Building Center employees, a group Forsythe credits with the business's success. Home, Home on the Move In the past 10 years, Forsythe says his RV-oriented shelf space has expanded from 12 feet to more than 40 feet, bringing in new products each year based on customer demand and sales records from previous years. Some items will remain a staple for an RV-dwelling customer—such as lightbulbs for small appliances and sanitation products, Forsythe says. However, some small items are less obvious and take research and knowledge of the complexities of mobile living. With different organizations and companies running the area campgrounds and RV parks, the number of electrical connections and other offerings like internet, cable and satellite entertainment can change. Westmart carries hookups for 30- and 50-amp connections. He also sells electrically heated hoses, a necessary item when temperatures drop. "Our seasonal customers come to our area to enjoy the outdoors," Forsythe says. "We have their Westmart Building Center is located in prime territory for seasonal travelers and campers. Sitting in West Yellowstone, Montana, the retail business serves year-round residents as well as visitors to nearby Yellowstone National Park. Recreational Vehicle

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