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 78 Speller says his co-op has supported him and his family in learning and understanding the industry through seminars at the co-op's semiannual markets on business best practices and how to help customers. He also says his business degree has helped him navigate a side of business he hasn't experienced before. "Keeping our books accurate and keeping track of everything that goes into the business side, like inventory management and calculating margins, is a lot more in depth than any business I've been a part of previously," Speller says. "I've been applying my business degree to maximize profits, cut expenses. I'm hoping that in the next year we'll get a handle on our inventory." Making It Work Aside from being a brand new business, Speller's True Value had a compounded challenge in its first year: road construction. "Right after our grand opening, until about early November, there was road construction right in front of the store, so people couldn't get in," Speller says. "We're hoping this winter is better, and we're going to take spring and summer by the horns this year." Even though the business saw challenges, the community of Waterloo rallied around Speller's from the start. Community members created a Facebook event asking 100 people to spend $10 each at the business, which Speller says helped create a lot of buzz about the store. "We have a good mix of customers," Speller says. "Initially, it was a lot of landlords, which was great because they know what they need. As word has spread, we're starting to get more DIY shoppers." To meet the needs of the community, Speller says it was important to offer a broad product mix from the start. "We wanted to have all the basic hardware and tools, but also the items that aren't basic, the hard-to-find stuff, like old-style fuses for homes," Speller says. "We make sure we have that on hand." Allen Speller (left) says he was inspired by his parents' entrepreneurial ventures while he was growing up. His father, Wendell, has owned and operated a men's clothing retail store, Tri-City Clothing, in Waterloo, Iowa, for 30 years.

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