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.

Issue link: http://www.hardwareretailingarchive.com/i/1043285

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Page 60 of 80

HARDWARE RETAILING | November 2018 56 What Do Pros Want? The types of power tools available in the market are as varied as the pros who use them. From homebuilders to building superintendents working on apartment complexes and municipal buildings, the needs of professionals can change daily. For retailers, customers who work professionally with power tools can become a foundation of steady sales if targeted correctly. Gemmen's Home & Hardware in Hudsonville, Michigan, serves a market that is mostly geared toward smaller operations, such as municipal workers who are involved in a variety of projects in multiple buildings, like in a school district. According to company president and owner Andrew Gemmen, these customers are not making large orders for fully outfitted construction crews. "Portability is key for this market, and we've devoted more of the salesfloor to those products as opposed to stationary tools," Gemmen says. By catering their product selection and even store hours to this customer base, Gemmen's Home & Hardware has built a loyal following among power tool users. Branneky True Value Hardware serves a similar type of market just outside St. Louis in Bridgeton, Missouri. Co-owner Tim Branneky supplies area hotel maintenance crews and takes part in city projects by bidding on contracts. By supplying a diverse clientele, the store has spread its name among several sectors of professionals, Branneky says. "Our business has a really great mix, which includes business with several airlines in our area, as well as contracts that can lead to supplying tools for projects for up to three years," Branneky says. "It's a wide range, and it builds word-of-mouth marketing in a great way, because these professionals all talk shop with each other, and that includes where they're buying their tools." While Branneky True Value Hardware and Gemmen's Home & Hardware cater to their markets through convenience and proper product selection, PaulB Hardware has built a business serving larger contractors by being a well-supplied and trusted source for power tools and accessories. With a warehouse to store plenty of backstock for its two Pennsylvania retail locations, PaulB Hardware can outfit an entire work van with everything needed in hand and power tools. "We've found that having every item in stock and ready for these customers to either walk out of the store with or have in their employees' hands in short order is a big draw," says Phil Groff, sales and marketing manager for PaulB Hardware. "Contractors are always running against time. We've changed a lot of our operations to make it easier for pros to get in and out or have easy access to us for orders." Left: Devoting entire aisles and display areas to one brand, like this display at Gemmen's Home & Hardware, can help customers easily find the brand they prefer. Right: Branneky True Value Hardware allows its customers to handle its tools while on display, a strong merchandising tactic for professional customers.

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