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 50 As those customers found the store, 10th Street Hardware adapted its product mix to reflect what they were looking for. "What we sold had to morph into more housewares and apartment accessories versus products for contractors who were renovating, taking down walls and rewiring," he says. "Something I've always tried to do in my businesses is listen to the customers and watch. If you bring a new item in and no one buys it, it needs to go no matter how much you like it. The same is true for bringing in something customers ask for. It's important to have what they are buying." The No. 1 category at 10th Street Hardware is housewares, and the product offerings are broad, from batteries and mousetraps to steam irons and French presses. "I don't know if this is a Philly thing, but a lot of people come in and start with a negative. They say 'I bet you don't have this' or 'I don't think you have this, but…'" DeShong says. "It's amazing how often we can turn it around and say, 'No, that's not crazy. Of course we have that.'" In addition to apartment-dwelling consumers, 10th Street Hardware has a professional customer base made up mostly of maintenance workers from surrounding apartment buildings. DeShong says these customers come in for products, like spackle, for small renovations, and services, such as lock rekeying. Along with lock rekeying and key making, 10th Street Hardware offers other services customers may not expect in a store with such a small footprint. The store has a chopsaw in the basement to cut pieces from the small selection of lumber and PVC pipes they sell. They also cut glass and plexiglass. Those types of services are usually requested by homeowners or renters who are working on small crafting or DIY projects, DeShong says. The store's proximity to both the neighborhood hospital and local universities brings in a mix of customers looking for unique items for projects, whether it's students buying gas pipe nipples and flanges for an art assignment or someone from the hospital lab coming in for containers, DeShong says. "Something I've always tried to do in my businesses is listen to the customers and watch. If you bring a new item in and no one buys it, it needs to go no matter how much you like it." —Steve DeShong, owner, 10th Street Hardware DeShong (right) and his team create a fun environment while still providing expert advice to customers.

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