Hardware Retailing

JAN 2019

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 | January 2019 68 "Unlike house paints, which reflect light, scenic paints have a completely matte finish. Also, the pigments in this type of paint are pure, so it can be thinned out to tint things," he says. In order to stand out against other theatrical supply businesses and online competitors, Robichau stresses the importance of having multiple brands of scenic paint, because he says creative professionals who utilize this paint often have very specific brand demands. Additional paint supplies to go along with these paints include artist brushes, buckets, strainers, vinyl and latex gloves and aprons. Robichau says his customers often add additional scenic supplies to their order, like flameproofing products, sandbags, or a nontoxic composite fabricating resin used to create various props and set constructions. Another product that Backstage Hardware sells in large quantities to set designers is gaffer tape. While it is similar to duct tape, those working in theater or television production prefer to use it because it is more resistant to heat and is easily removed without damaging the surface it was adhered to. "Most of my entertainment industry clients require gaffer tape, and they buy it in a wide range of colors and widths for different purposes," Robichau says. "They use different colored tapes to mark where actors will stand on stage or to keep cords and carpets secured for safety or concealment." Another theatrical category Backstage Hardware is well stocked in is specialized lighting products. Many of these items wouldn't be found in a typical lighting department of a hardware store, but it's something Robichau knows he needs to have to compete with businesses that exclusively sell expendables to the industry. An example of one such lighting product is gels, also known as color filters. Color filters come in a variety of styles but are used by set designers and light designers to add color directly to a set. With bright lights comes the need to cool items in the glow of the heat, so Backstage Hardware also has a range of protective filters that extend the life of expensive color filters. Focusing on Customer Service Just as customer service is important for the walk-in DIYer, it is equally crucial for generating repeat business within the entertainment industry, Robichau says. However, the type of service provided is less focused on educating and more focused on meeting their demands quickly and efficiently. "When a movie or television crew sets up for production, they bring a tractor trailer full Top: One way he has kept a loyal customer base is by offering the top two brands of scenic paint in house. Bottom: Those he worked with have shown gratitude for his loyalty by creating this statue with materials he sells in his store.

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