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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April 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 61 "Every year, we send a few of our associates to the Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO)," McMaster says. "The show is beneficial as it gives our team a chance to see what products are trending in outdoor power equipment and it helps us with our buying strategy." Create Repeat Customers The outdoor power equipment category can attract a mix of DIY customers and a wide variety of professionals. To best serve the whole range, a retailer needs to have strategies in place. Beisswenger's Hardware has an audience of about 80 percent DIYer to 20 percent commercial customer in the category, Morelli says. Some of the commercial accounts they manage include snow equipment and lawn and garden equipment required by the city. They also work with schools and municipalities. To keep the pros happy, Morelli says employees need to have strong product knowledge. Having a business with a parts department and a service repair shop is a reason pro customers will return. Hosting events at the store for commercial contractors and professionals is another great way to boost business. Howard Brothers Outdoor Power and Hardware, a chain of stores in Georgia, is another business that has earned its reputation as the go-to source among pro customers. In 1989, Howard Brothers Pro Day began, which became a popular event in the southeastern part of the country. To learn more about the annual event and how the store takes care of pros today, read the article at TheRedT.com/howard-bros-event. Hosting a pro-focused event can expose them to new products and attract potential customers. Make the event attractive by offering food and refreshments and introduce the guests to different vendors who demo products on-site. Colonial Hardware serves an equal amount of DIYers to pro customers. Its pro business kicked into gear when landscaping companies grew in popularity in Memphis. McMaster says they meet the needs of both demographics because they have strong product knowledge. M Kay Supply Events, Demos Attract Variety of Shoppers In the small town of Benton, Missouri, locals no longer have to travel miles away from town to purchase new outdoor power equipment. After four years of discussing opening a much-needed hardware store in their small town, Malinda and Jarrett Milam opened M Kay Supply in December 2014. One of the most popular and top-performing categories in the store has been outdoor power equipment, as DIYers, local farmers and pro customers can find everything they need to get the job done, Milam says. To spread the word about their outdoor power equipment offerings, the M Kay Supply team has collaborated with their primary dealer, STIHL, to host events and give customers the chance to demo different equipment. Some of the events the store has hosted include a ladies' night, obstacle courses and other fun events where outdoor power equipment is often in the spotlight, putting the tools in the customers' hands. "STIHL has great brand recognition among our customers, and getting the products in their hands takes it one step further," Milam says. "We always allow customers to pick up and feel the equipment, but the events we've hosted are where they can learn more and have fun."

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