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 46 After 10 Years, 10th Street Hardware Looks to New Beginnings and Beyond 10th Street A s someone who only recently became a part of the independent home improvement industry, Steve DeShong had heard a lot of stories about the fate of small hardware businesses. "I had accepted as some sort of fact that small hardware stores were going away, that the big-box stores are killing all neighborhood hardware stores. I don't know where I got that exactly, but it seemed to be the prevailing wisdom," he says. "I started working here and heard customers remark day after day, 'I'm so glad you're here! It takes me hours to find what I need at a big-box store.' I previously had the impression that small stores were going away, and it was just a matter of time before they all went out of business." DeShong joined 10th Street Hardware in 2015 as the store manager, and he has co-owned the business with his partner Troy Usnik since 2007. Usnik has worked in the business for more than 30 years. So, what is DeShong's takeaway now that he has had a hand in reinventing 10th Street Hardware in Philadelphia over the past two years? "Small hardware stores are not dead, don't believe it. You don't have to be Home Depot to thrive. You have to keep up, but you can be old-fashioned and still offer what your customers want." A Reinvention Project For DeShong, 10th Street Hardware was an opportunity to reinvent himself, too. "I've owned stores ranging from gift shops and clothing to most recently a floral business and plant and garden store," he says. "Hardware was really interesting to me because it was different from the other stores I had worked in previously." DeShong and Usnik purchased the business from its previous owners in February 2007 and reopened it in March of that year under the 10th Street Hardware banner. In 2015, Usnik asked DeShong to come work in the hardware store because of his extensive history in retail, his eye for detail and his knack for numbers. "Troy felt like they had plateaued after eight years, and the store needed to be reinvented a little bit," DeShong says. "I got involved and started to see the store with new eyes." By Melanie Moul, mmoul@nrha.org

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