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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September 2017 | HARDWARE RETAILING 75 O ne could be forgiven for assuming a hardware store in the Florida Keys would focus on the "fun in the sun" products for vacationers. Yet Summerland Hardware boasts not only a thriving hardware business that serves local rental properties, hotels, residents and contractors, but also a substantial marine department highlighted by the 100 feet of dock space for boaters right outside the store. The store owner, Jeff Price, emphasizes on making the most out of the 2,000 square feet of sales space that Summerland Hardware occupies. While the store strives to cater to home repairs as well as the many items needed to keep a vessel seaworthy, it becomes a game of logistics and supply, he says. "We have to pick and choose the products we carry, but that's the nature of having the kind of salesfloor we have. We'll still make sure you can get the job done," Price says. Catching the Wind Price's philosophy when adding marine products is to keep it simple, supplied and safe. There are items that every boat absolutely must have to be certified to leave port, including life jackets, flares and additional safety equipment. There are also plenty of items that regularly break and must be repaired or replaced. Being able to offer a service, such as making a new battery cable that has been burned up, can also go a long way with a customer who is looking to get out on the water and enjoy themselves. "The necessities are anything that make the boat go and make it safe on the water. Those are the items that people on boats can't live without. You'd be amazed at how often a boat will come in and have none of its safety equipment in working order," Price says. With space at a premium, he often has to toe the line between remaining well stocked and not crowding his store with bulky items. That has led to the kind of delivery turnaround Price believes has helped his business remain a go-to destination. Summerland Hardware receives two trucks each week from its hardware co-op and daily deliveries from its three marine distributors. The store even puts out a personalized catalog through one distributor that consumers can take and have on hand to place orders. "For visiting customers, you only get one chance, because they're here for a short time and they need something this minute. I might have a product that has five different sizes, so there will be two of each size on one peg. So, if someone comes in and grabs four of those, we're in trouble," Price says. "You have to be able to keep up." Marine Safety equipment, such as flares and first-aid kits, are important for marine sales at Summerland Hardware.

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