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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May 2018 | HARDWARE RETAILING 77 wants 200 pieces of plywood. Well, the one after him does, too, so we can't do that. They can have seven. That way the last person in line, even after eight hours, can expect to get his seven boards, too." Rationing products can cause some discomfort for customers, but it ultimately engenders more positive reactions when the storm has passed and customers are no longer panicked, Strong says. Those same customers will remember they were able to get some supplies and that Shell Lumber sells those much-needed supplies at the same price they sell them for when it's a sunny day in Miami. Other ways to assist customers after a disaster include working with them in selecting contractors and other professionals they'll need to rebuild homes and offices. After the 2011 tornado, Joplin was inundated with contractors and builders from outside the affected area, ostensibly there to help rebuild the community. Lewis is quick to say most were professional and genuinely looking to help while also building their businesses, yet some were taking material on credit and not paying it off, using bad checks and offering exorbitant terms for repair work. "I truly believe that, after a disaster, the level of trust you can build with your neighbor is astounding. People are asking for help, and it brings out the good in people," Lewis says. "A retailer can be a good neighbor by making sure customers are taken care of. In this industry, we have resources to check out contractors that our customers likely don't have, so we want to be that resource." Top right, bottom left: Shell Lumber & Hardware is known for keeping its lumber and hardware shelves stocked. Bottom right: Shell Lumber GM Chuck Strong (left) works with a customer on selecting the proper lumber product.

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