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.

Issue link: https://hardwareretailing.epubxp.com/i/971427

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Page 126 of 248

HARDWARE RETAILING | May 2018 114 That would help pick up sales, but we're figuring out where to install them and how to manage that. HR: What are some of the key opportunities that you feel independent retailers will have in the short term? MM: Connecting with your communities in new and unique ways. We are focused on creating connections with customers and engaging with the community, but even that has changed. Sponsoring Little League teams used to mean something to customers, but it doesn't really matter that much anymore. We have family-oriented events, like bringing in Disney characters Elsa and Moana. We host Pinterest project weekends to bring people in. It's also important to be out in your community, serving on chambers and committees and getting to know people. I think people shop at places because they know the associates. That's an advantage we have over the big boxes. It goes back to knowing who your consumer is and creating personal relationships. We have opportunities to create sales in our communities at the events we're already going to, as well. Talking business with the other parents at the baseball game, that's an opportunity. HR: What do you think the industry will look in five to 10 years? MM: That's a million-dollar question. If I was asked that question 10 years ago, it would have been a lot easier to answer. I think in 10 years, the independent hardware store will look more like a convenience store. There will be smaller salesfloors, fewer staff members. We'll be offering online shopping and expanded services, like deliveries. The change in technology will the biggest change in five years. It's so hard to pinpoint because it's so versatile. It's really hard to say where things will go. I think we will definitely need to evolve or we will not succeed. Implementing and growing with technology is definitely a big demand on our area, so I hired a marketing person. We're pretty small, but we needed it for our Facebook presence, and we're also on Instagram now. We're also changing up our website by putting our in-store inventory online. We're making those changes right now trying to enhance our online presence. All of these changes we're making now go back to how the idea of convenience has changed, because we're not open 24/7. HR: Why was it important to you to get involved in the local organizations and with NRHA? MM: I'm involved in a lot of local groups, and it's because I want to support my community. I'm on the alumni board for my high school, and I'm on an E-Community board that supports entrepreneurs. I'm involved in our chamber of commerce and our Main Street organization. In the past, I've coached Little League, and I served on the church board and as a Boy Scout leader. When you're in a small town, that's what you do. I didn't pursue it just because I'm a business owner in a small town. It's just who I am. I've also connected with other business owners locally to create partnerships and cross-promote. There is a local gun store in town, and we've worked with them to get our name on the back of their shirts. There's also a local jewelry store that we're trying to find a way to partner with. It's about showing you support each other locally. For retailers who are looking to get involved at the local level, I recommend starting with your chamber. There are a lot of activities that the chamber of commerce does. You can pick something that is a hobby or something that you enjoy. They're always looking for volunteers. The original Newton's True Value spans four buildings in downtown Cherryvale, Kansas.

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