Hardware Retailing

JUN 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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Page 54 of 82

HARDWARE RETAILING | June 2018 50 Julie Buchkowski (middle left) and Tricia Dauwalder-Luna (middle right) both have children who are already taking an interest in hardware retailing and helping out around the business. A bout a decade ago, sisters Julie Buchkowski and Tricia Dauwalder-Luna bought Paul's Ace Hardware from their father, Don. They are third-generation owners of the business which was established by their grandfather, Paul, in 1956. Today, Paul's Ace is an eight-store chain in the area surrounding Scottsdale, Arizona. The sisters have been responsible for adding three of those locations and have continued to build on the successes of their family. For them, a transition in leadership didn't slow down the forward momentum of the business. Rather, they have been able to build on the successes of the past. That's been possible because their family has a commitment to communication and willingness to embrace change. Find What's Missing Buchkowski and Dauwalder-Luna say it's difficult to pinpoint a day when they started preparing for what is now their careers. It was an ongoing process that started when they were very young. "Working in a hardware store was just something we grew up doing," says Buchkowski. "You learn a lot just by being there and watching others." When the sisters started to get serious about future ownership, they began to identify aspects of the business where they needed more training. Buchkowski says she needed to know more about finances so she started taking classes at a community college. That experience was so valuable, she ended up recommending it to several other employees. Although the importance of a strong grasp on finances may seem obvious, not all retailers leading a company understand the basics of accounting. Buchkowski believes it's critical not to minimize the necessity of that skill. "You need to know how you make your money and that everything you do affects your profitability," she says. That learning process doesn't stop, either. Even after they became owners, the sisters say they still look for opportunities to learn, whether it's through product training vendors provide, seminars at their co-op's buying markets or by networking with other retailers. And there's usually a takeaway they can use to make the operation better. "I feel like I'm always learning," says Buchkowski. "We both make an effort to get together with other retailers when we can. I always enjoy hearing how another store does a certain process or procedure." Change With the Times Retailers passing a business on to their children should realize there are many skills they can teach, but it's impossible to prepare for every situation, especially in a changing retail landscape. The best mindset is to not be afraid to adjust to the realities around you, even if that means making changes to the comfortable habits of the past. Paul's Ace Hardware

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