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 60 Checkouts CUSTOMER RELATIONS Community's Collections Become Art I ndependent retailers are often cornerstones of communities, not just because of what they sell, but how long they've been fixtures for customers. For long-running businesses, multiple generations of customers might have passed through a store's doors and built ties that can last for decades. To show off some of that history, Heuser Hardware owners and twin brothers Tom and Bill Densford wanted to create something unique for their store in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Sparked by the creation of Jeffersonville's art district three years prior, the retailers worked with local artist Michael Wimmer on a project that would eventually become "Hardware Warrior." The sculpture, which now stands on the sidewalk outside Heuser Hardware, started with a callout to Jeffersonville residents and customers to donate any old tools or hardware accessories that they would like included in a possible sculpture. After several months of collecting items through donations, Wimmer had enough to begin assembling his creation. "There really wasn't too much of a plan on how the sculpture would come together," Bill Densford says. "Wimmer would work on it for a bit, and after a while, he'd call us over to his workshop behind the store and we'd take a look. Maybe some changes here and there, then he'd work on it some more. It just evolved into the 'Warrior.'" Bill Densford isn't sure just how many tools went into the final sculpture, but he thinks the majority of tools were wrenches. Some items hold personal significance, including a wallpaper hanger's shears that belonged to an aunt. A grandfather's porch swings springs were also incorporated. For a store that was founded in 1923, the chance to honor previous generations with this sculpture was something that resonated with the owners. Much like how they feel pride for some of their family's items being included, they've gotten to see others' families point out items that hold special meaning. The community involvement drives home the intent of the local art district as well as the attitude of Heuser Hardware team members when working with customers, Bill Densford says. "You see it all the time, someone will have a child with them and say, 'That hammer belonged to your grandfather.' It's a way to show off the personal history of so many families that have been with us along the way," Bill Densford says. A sculpture titled "Hardware Warrior" greets customers outside Heuser Hardware in Jeffersonville, Indiana. A local artist made the sculpture from tools and hardware accessories donated by members of the community. Looking for creative ways to engage customers? Whether it's promotions, merchandising or special events, we cover it here. Have an idea? Contact Melanie Moul at mmoul@nrha.org to have your story considered for publication.

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