Hardware Retailing

OCT 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 | October 2018 72 S uccessful retailers have habits they build into their business practices that help them excel. Hardware Retailing checked in with Bobby Fuller and Jason Haley, past honorees from the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) Top Guns program, to learn about the habits that make them successful. Top Gun honorees are high-achieving independent home improvement retailers who are excellent business operators and active contributors to their communities and the industry. Habits of Successful Retailers I work alongside my employees. Leading by example is important to Fuller, and doing that means working side by side with his employees. That's why he will ask workers to come help him with tasks more often than he asks them to do things for him. By continuing to work in the stores, Fuller knows what his workers face every day in their jobs and they know he values them. I stay busy at the stores. If business is slower, Fuller and his staff will straighten up shelves, blow leaves off the parking lot or clean the lumberyard. There is always work to do, and idleness is not an option. Fuller's example rubs off on employees. "If the manager's working hard, they're going to help him," he says. "I will never ask anyone to do anything I won't do." I consider whether everyone benefits from a business deal. A deal isn't honest or fair if it doesn't benefit everyone involved, according to Fuller. For example, a contractor offered to paint a Fuller and Son store for a price so low Fuller knew the man wouldn't make much, if any, money on the project. Fuller paid the painter more than his asking price. I use courteous words. Fuller doesn't believe in barking orders or threatening to fire employees. "If I want somebody to do something, I say, 'Come help me do this.' At the very worst, I say, 'Would you do this for me?'" he says. "If you're in a position of authority and you say, 'Would you do this for me?' it's going to get a lot better reaction than a rude, 'Hey, do this.'" I directly tell customers that my goal is to make them happy. When Fuller gets calls from upset customers, he pauses the conversations to say, "I want you to know this—when you get off the phone, you're going to be happy." He is generous with exchanges and returns because losing some money matters less to him than satisfying customers. Bobby Fuller Fuller owns Fuller and Son Hardware, which opened in 1921 and now has six locations in central Arkansas. He operates the business with his sons, Jeff and J.R.

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