Hardware Retailing

NOV 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 | November 2017 42 Stocking and Merchandising Alternative Options Whether you're helping a first-time homeowner pick plants to attract butterflies or a customer pick out a new pesticide, having organic, chemical-free alternatives available is the first step to growing your eco-friendly, organic niche within the lawn and garden category. When Marin Ace first opened its doors in late 2011, Michelle Leopold knew she wanted the store's selection of lawn and garden products to provide a greener alternative for their customers. The business works with local organizations and sources products from vendors that provide organic solutions. "We know what's better for the environment, and we have customers asking what's better," Leopold says. "It's not us pushing it on them. They're asking for advice and we are the resource to offer it. We don't just want to offer greener options. We want to educate our customers on why they should pick something over another product." The same can be said for customers of Holdridge Home & Garden Showplace in Ledyard, Connecticut, where green products and organic alternatives are a big draw in the lawn and garden category. All retailers who offer those products should do their homework, Wayne Henson, advertising manager for the business, says. "I would encourage other retailers to pay attention to green and organic lawn and garden products by attending trade shows and visiting with manufacturers and other retailers at the booths," Henson says. "Organic alternatives are becoming much more mainstream, so while we offer both options, we are growing our eco-friendly offerings and phasing out the more toxic products." When customers walk through the lawn and garden aisles at Marin Ace, they are able to make informed decisions on products even if an employee isn't pointing something out to them. Signs highlight items that have received an eco-friendly stamp of approval. These products are certified by a local organization called "Our Water, Our World," Leopold says. Joe Franquinha of Crest Hardware and Urban Garden Center in Brooklyn, New York, fully embraced an organic approach to the lawn and garden category a few years ago. He says he knew he could convince customers to try green products, even if they were initially reluctant.

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