Hardware Retailing

APR 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 | April 2018 44 After 25 years of owning and operating a pet supply retail business, Julie Haff and her husband closed up shop. Although she was hunting for a new job, she didn't think retail would continue to be a part of her journey—yet a routine shopping trip opened a door to something that she still loves today. "My husband was shopping at Connolly's one day, and he learned that the store was hiring for cashiers," Haff says. "At that point I had never even been inside the store, but I drove straight there and filled out an application. Ten years later, I'm still here and now I'm the head cashier." Haff came to the business with no prior knowledge of the hardware industry, but her background as a business owner and her strong work ethic have made her one of the most vital employees in the business, Connolly's Do it Best Hardware & Rental owner Michael Connolly says. Personality is very important for a cashier, he says. The cashier is the first and last person to address a customer, so it is important for people in this role to be friendly and make a good impression on the customer. Looking at past experiences, Connolly says he would hire someone with a good personality even if they had never used a cash register, because he can teach someone the skills they need to do their job, but he can't teach personality. "I would rather be patient in the hiring process than to hire someone that ends up being a project," he says. "I knew immediately that Julie was a good fit. During the interview, she was very easy to talk with. She had prior experience in retail and was able to speak to that experience." The Right Stuff The traits and skills Haff possesses work to her advantage in her position. She enjoys getting to know customers and giving them directions to the department or person they might need. Being able to help solve customers' problems is a point of pride for her. "I know that the majority of people who walk through those doors are here because they have a problem they're dealing with," Haff says. "If I can at least get them in the right area and alert one of our experts to help, it really makes me feel good." Haff is also a standout employee because of the work ethic she exhibits in other parts of her position. "What I appreciate so much about Julie is that she is superb with customers, but she is also organized and a self-motivated individual," Connolly says. "She keeps her area at the cash register tidy, she knows the sales we have running and she can quickly recognize when there's an issue in the store. Because of that, she helps us keep the business running smoothly. And if there is a problem, she tries to come up with solutions to fix it." Setting an Example Staying busy is vital for cashiers, even if shoppers aren't walking through the door or are ready to check out. Haff multitasks, whether that means reviewing sales books on the computer, checking inventory levels or making price changes. She not only compares inventory for her location, but for all four Connolly's stores in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, area. When new employees join the team, Haff is also responsible for training them on the register. Doing a good job in any position requires the person to look beyond the role they were hired to fill, Haff says. "I believe you should always strive to do more," she says. "You need to be willing to help in other departments and learn about the business Striving to Do More Julie Haff Head Cashier Connolly's Do it Best Hardware & Rental " What I appreciate so much about Julie is that she is superb with customers, but she is also organized and a self-motivated individual. " —Michael Connolly, Connolly's Do it Best Hardware & Rental

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