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 48 In a retail space that is just over 1,100 square feet, DeShong says 10th Street isn't the smallest salesfloor he has worked in, but it has the most SKUs and the highest sales volume per square foot that he's ever managed. "Most of the other businesses I had before relied on displays and merchandising because customers were buying more on impulse," he says. "With hardware, obviously those things are important, but maintaining inventory is of a much higher importance. When customers come to you because they see you as a source for a specific home repair item and you don't have it, they will stop coming back quickly." When DeShong came into the business, his new vision was for 10th Street Hardware to be the place where customers could always find what they need. Along with visual changes, like updating the logo, adding lighting in the store and implementing regular cleaning and store maintenance tasks, DeShong also updated the day-to-day processes. He brought in a new POS system and streamlined the order receiving process. "One of the first things I attacked when developing new methods was our order receiving process because it just felt incredibly chaotic to me and the employees, and it was reflecting negatively on the customers as well," he says. "Not only was it important to fix it for us, but it was important to fix it for the customer experience, too." The goal of these changes, DeShong says, was to make the store more user-friendly, and he says the responses from customers on the changes they have made so far have been positive. "There is a natural human instinct to resist some change, but generally, customers like to see that you're paying attention to your store," he says. Shifting Gears Customers also like when you pay attention to them, which is something DeShong shares with his whole team. "About 20 or 30 years ago, the city of Philadelphia created a development district here and started converting some of the vacant lots, so the customer base for the store was more contractor-focused," he says. "During that period, the store served some of the renovation business." Within the last decade, DeShong says he and Usnik noticed a change in the neighborhood, with pizza shops and sandwich places transitioning into trendy restaurants that serve craft beer and farm-to-table food and apartment renovations bringing in higher-end customers. 10th Street Hardware comes in at just over 1,100 square feet of salesfloor, so Steve DeShong (left) and his team have found a way to utilize every nook and cranny for storage and merchandising, from floor to ceiling.

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