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 46 Before joining the team at Manchester Hardware in June 2015, Casey Williamson had experience working at an independent business and in hardware. Her retail career started in high school, when she worked at an independent pet store, and she later got at a job at a Tractor Supply Co. store. "I appreciated how much I learned there, but it wasn't until I came to Manchester Hardware that I learned how much I could contribute to an independent environment with everything I had learned about the industry," Williamson says. When she interviewed for the role of rental associate at the Easthampton, Massachusetts, store, she knew the business was where she wanted to be. "It was kind of a no-brainer," she says. "It felt nice to be back in the independent setting. The community and Mancaster Hardware are close-knit, and we have a lot of loyal customers." A Prime Promotion Owner Carol Perman appreciates Williamson's past experience, and since she has joined the team, Williamson has become an asset to the entire operation, Perman says. "Casey has such a strong work ethic," Perman says. "She's thorough, and she's attentive when you're talking to her." Williamson's respect for her co-workers and the work she does are also qualities Perman values. "Casey works with them as a part of the team," Perman says. "She sets a good example being punctual and completely committing to the job at hand." In 2016, the company's store manager unexpectedly quit, leaving a hole in the management team. Williamson had recently been promoted to assistant manager, but was still learning the ins and outs of retail management. "Being new to management, I found myself without the store manager to teach me along the way. I was feeling a little green at that point," she says. "I found myself needing to step up." To help her gain the knowledge she needed at a critical time, Williamson and Perman looked into the NRHA's Retail Management Certification Program, which is designed to help key employees enhance their leadership and retail operations management skills. At the time, Perman was looking for opportunities to downsize the business to focus on the core categories that were crucial for the Manchester community. NRHA's program was the key to starting the downsizing process. Over the course of the six-month program, Williamson completed a project that helped the operation close its rental business. "We're trying to reposition the business to best serve our community," Perman says. "We want to get it leaner and meaner, and closing the rental business was part of that." Since completing the NRHA program, Williamson has taken on more responsibility in the company and is becoming more familiar with the financial side of the operation. "Casey is becoming more well-rounded and more aware of the different 'whys' and 'hows' of the business," Perman says. "We're showing her the profit and loss statements and the margin reports. She's learning all the time." Centered on Service Williamson is grateful for the opportunity to continue growing in her role, and she knows she has support all around her, from customers and staff. "Seeing loyal customers and working in a place that's so full of history inspires me," she says. "And there are a lot of people who have worked here for years. They're full of information and experience." Williamson says one part of her job that she enjoys most is working with regular customers to complete a large project. Taking the First Step Casey Williamson Manager Manchester Hardware " Casey is becoming more well-rounded and more aware of the different 'whys' and 'hows' of the business. " —Carol Perman, Manchester Hardware

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