Hardware Retailing

MAY 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 | May 2018 104 There are 60 people on staff at Gow's Home Hardware who have more than 600 years of combined experience. HR: Where do you see your business in the next five years to 10 years? AF: We have plans to transition into furniture and appliances in 2019. With Sears out of the market, it's a huge opportunity for us. We are in the planning stages of a 54,000-square-foot space to accommodate that new area of our business. One of the key components to our future success is marketing ourselves as the one-stop shop for our customers. Continuing to retain staff with experience and offering exceptional customer service gives us an edge over our big-box and online competitors. What that looks like in five or 10 years? That's yet to be determined. In today's market, next week is unpredictable, however, the key is to continue to be able to change and adapt with the challenges that present themselves. HR: What do you think the industry will look like as a whole in five to 10 years? AF: I think our future is very optimistic in the Canadian landscape as a whole. Things are changing so quickly, so it's difficult to pinpoint what the industry will look like that far out. The key to success is to stay focused on changing with the market because those who don't get left behind. Sears Canada is a perfect example of that. (The department store chain closed operations in Canada in January.) Our customer base is 80 percent DIY consumer, and as our base continues to transition more toward millennials, the need is greater than ever to be able to offer the skills and knowledge to our customers who need DIY advice. That forward-thinking was part of the impetus for the change of Home Hardware's national advertising program last year to the tagline "Do it yourself doesn't mean do it alone. Let me show you how! Here's how." HR: Can you talk about the value and importance you place in furthering your education and networking with other independent retailers? AF: Networking with other independent retailers gives us a huge advantage over our competition. Being with other retailers is huge because every good idea is borrowed. If you can take one idea from a brainstorming session and go back and implement it, you can often see positive results right away. Continuing to develop our team is also key. Home Hardware and NRHA offer many tools to assist in this area. It's important that we offer training and resources to everyone so our customers experience consistent service no matter when they shop. People have come to expect that from us. " The key to success is to stay focused on changing with the market because those who don't get left behind. "

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