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 78 Taking Care of the Home Team Assisting customers recently affected by a disaster is a priority for an LBM retailer. Care must be taken to remember another group of area residents who are concerned for their homes and loved ones: employees. While a retailer will likely need all hands available to restore a business to operation, those employees are also working with their minds on their personal struggles. Shell Lumber has worked with its employees through a number of storms, Strong says, and being just as generous with employees as customers is common practice. If an employee has requested to leave town before a storm hits, it is usually granted by management. The Miami location closed the day before the expected landfall of Hurricane Irma as well, which angered customers seeking last-minute supplies, but allowed employees to protect their own homes after working multiple 18-hour days to cater to the demand at the business. "There are limitations you have to accept in the short term, such as staffing shortages if your employees can't reach the store or if they've had to leave town to keep their families safe," Strong says. "We have so many employees who have been with us for many years, and that's because we've been able to work so closely with them to keep them and their families safe while also getting work done." When mudslides blocked the Pacific Coast Highway south of Santa Barbara in January, Jones knew Hayward Lumber was going to be severely affected by both employee shortages and altered delivery schedules. The Santa Barbara location draws most of its employees from communities on the other side of the closure, so close to a quarter of them would have a difficult time getting to work for what turned into more than a week of closure. " We have so many employees who have been with us for many years, and that's because we've been able to work so closely with them to keep them and their families safe while also getting work done. " —Chuck Strong, Shell Lumber & Hardware Herrman Lumber was one of many businesses damaged in 2011 when a multi-vortex tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. While the business was dealing with its own damages, the staff quickly began looking for ways to help customers with their needs as well.

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