Hardware Retailing

NOV 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 46 of 80

out to the American Rental Association for guidance on setting up his new department. "I've kept in contact with several retailers from the program who were already operating their own rental departments," he says. "It's great to be able to reach out and see what's working for them, find what equipment to buy or not buy, what POS systems to use. We're all in such different markets, so it depends a lot on the clientele, but it's still great to have those resources." Meeting retailers from diverse backgrounds who also operate rental departments helped push Padgett to the next step as a leader. Since completing the management program, he's grown his rental department even more, to the point where party equipment is rented out nearly every weekend during the summer. He's also become a resource for other retailers looking to expand into the category. "It's nice to have other retailers contact you," he says. "I was that person a few years ago." Padgett has also participated in his wholesaler's young retailer group for the last eight years, and recently, he has been able to give back. At the biannual buying shows, young retailers meet for a casual meal and get a chance to learn from each other about business and the industry. Padgett is happy to be a part of the group and to impart his knowledge as a retailer with more than 20 years of experience. "It's great to be able to give advice to the next generation. The growth of the industry is young retailers," he says. "This group gives me a chance to answer any questions they have. Maybe they just bought a store and didn't know what to expect. Some of them aren't at the owner level or aren't children of owners. We need to get the next generation or two interested to help the industry grow, and sharing what we know is part of that." Padgett says he wasn't expecting personal development to be a result of the industry programs and groups he participated in. "At the time I thought, 'I've been in this industry for a while; what else is there to learn?'" he says. "I realized that there is always something to learn, even if it's personal growth." He has become more involved in his community, volunteering at the local American Legion hall, where he serves at the fish fry every other Friday. Through his volunteering, he's become more connected to his customers, which he says has helped everyone see each other in a different light. "I've learned more about my customers who I've dealt with for more than 20 years. They're not just customers," he says. "Sometimes, they want to call to talk instead of just getting a part for their dishwasher." With his tenure as manager approaching two decades, Padgett says his next step is to take ownership of the business. He says he has no doubts about the future of the business well beyond that point. "Every decision I make is for future growth and the long-term success of this business," he says. "When it comes to being a leader, you can't think you're better than everyone else. You need to sit and listen to the details from everybody involved. Nobody is ever finished with leadership development." Retail Management Certification Program The NRHA Retail Management Certification Program is a six-month, college-level program that provides next-generation managers and owners the industry-specific tools they need to develop strategies for growth. Learn more at nrha.org/rli. 42 HARDWARE RETAILING | November 2018 Daren Padgett (right) is an advocate for sharing his knowledge with industry newcomers.

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