Hardware Retailing

OCT 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 | October 2017 102 Setup Is Crucial Every tailgate party is different. Some feature nothing more than a small charcoal grill and a cooler with enough cold drinks for two. Other parties include recreational vehicles full of people and equipment that make you wonder if anyone is actually going to leave in time for the game. The Deems are no slouches in the comfort department, and their setup requires plenty of the equipment and tools found in a hardware store. They usually get to their regular parking spot about three hours before kickoff for home games at IU and begin setting up their base camp for the day. The camp includes a full-size couch with the score of every Hoosiers win they've attended with the couch written on its back, as well as a flat-screen TV mounted to their SUV. While grills are often a common sight at tailgates, the Deems prefer the cook-ahead method, putting their meals together the day before then reheating items in slow-cookers on game day. The back of the Deems' couch doubles as a place to keep track of the scores of their favorite team. 5 Must-Have Tailgate Items 1. Party Essentials Every tailgate party needs the essentials, including plastic housewares and cutlery, disposable cups and cleaning products. Group these items with other necessities, like trash bags and aluminum foil rolls, to remind customers of items that can easily be forgotten but become a huge hassle when not on hand on game day. That kind of save can go a long way with customer loyalty. 2. Cooking Needs Think mobility and packing with these products. If you feature full-service grill options in your lawn and garden category, have smaller grills available. However, larger-than-normal coolers are the go-to for many tailgaters, as one cooler for a large amount of food is easier to pack into a vehicle than multiple smaller coolers. 3. Shelter The weather isn't always ideal, but the game must go on. Offer items like large, open-sided tents and canopies to keep tailgaters out of the sun or rain, depending on the conditions. Outdoor heaters can also become must-have items for tailgaters in areas prone to harsh winters. Stock small hand warmers and ponchos in your impulse area to catch tailgaters on their way out the door. 4. Smaller Necessities Darrell and Shelly Deem say the small items they need from hardware stores are critical, including the ever-present need for duct tape. They also emphasize extension cords for anything electric, elastic bands to keep items together and zip ties to safely secure equipment in transit. 5. Project Items Tailgaters are a crafty bunch, and having a few common items readily available can help serve their assembly needs. Common hardware departments like plumbing and lumber may provide materials customers need to build their own games, like lifesize Jenga. Often a tailgater will be inspired by another person's setup and will come to you for advice on how to make their own. Be sure your employees knowledgeable about these projects so they are ready to assist customers looking for direction. X X

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