Hardware Retailing

JAN 2018

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 | January 2018 38 Checkouts CATEGORY Bringing a Little Outdoors Inside MERCHANDISING PVC Comes to Life in Window Displays C reativity in small spaces is a part of every retailer's experience, but there's more to the skill than shifting product selections and managing backroom storage. In the search for a new workshop idea for Cole Hardware in San Francisco and Oakland, California, marketing manager Julia Strzesieski decided a low-cost option that still allowed a large amount of creativity would be best. She decided on crafting terrariums, which she felt could be fun for groups and families, while giving each participant their own project to take home. "They're really simple to make, and with the kinds of supplies we offer, each can look very different. The customers could use sand, soil, charcoal, plants and even moss to change up their terrarium to their tastes," Strzesieski says. "We try to have as much time with customers as we can so we limit the number of participants, but it sold out really fast." The total cost to create the terrarium is $10. Other items used in the creations were seashells and colored rocks to add a pop of color. Participants also brought in items from home they could use. T here's a colony of PVC people living in the windows of Main Street Ace Hardware. The store, in the heart of downtown Bowling Green, Ohio, has large windows that face the street. Staff use items commonly found around the hardware store to keep the area decorated. "We're on one of the busiest pedestrian streets, so we put these windows to good use," says sales associate Kevin Pierce. "We create displays that acknowledge seasonal changes or promote downtown events and holidays." For example, during the Black Swamp Arts Festival, the largest downtown event of the year, passersby can see artwork by employees and other local artists. Around Thanksgiving, there's a holiday table decorated with hardware-inspired accessories, such as candles made from toilet floats. But one of the most popular recurring themes of the window displays is a colony of stick figures created with PVC pipe. "Occasionally our displays show one of our PVC people 'on the job,'" Pierce says. "One window in particular was changing every couple of days to show how to install a toilet." In another instance, when the local college football team was playing a rival team, the window display included a kicker, cheerleaders and goalposts, all made of PVC. Attendees at Cole Hardware's terrarium event assembled their own display with items from the store or from home. Every August, Main Street Ace Hardware greets thousands of people coming to town for the local county fair with its PVC creations.

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