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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January 2019 | HARDWARE RETAILING 69 of expendables," he says. "Yet no matter how much they buy and stock up on, there are often changes and new items they need—that's where Backstage Hardware comes into play." According to Robichau, the expendables Backstage Hardware carries must be fully stocked, otherwise he could easily lose sales to a competitor. However, some items have to be special ordered, and that's when going above and beyond to get what a customer needs can pay off, he says. "A few years ago, during the filming of a major motion picture, I got a request for high-quality studio chain, which is a type of steel chain," Robichau says. "I told them I had a few 100-foot boxes, but they said they needed 1,000-foot barrels of studio chain. I called my supplier and shocked him by ordering three barrels, which equates to 14,000 feet of chain. In my experience, if you come through and can handle major requests like this quickly, your customers will be sure to continue doing business with you." And while finding a way to handle some of the odd requests might seem stressful, Robichau says this is where Backstage Hardware shines. "If I wasn't willing to go the extra mile and find the items they need, I wouldn't serve this industry," he says. "I enjoy the challenge of getting customers hard-to-locate items. It drives big sales for my business as well." According to Robichau, most film projects can earn his business a sizeable profit, anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the size of the project, length of time they're in town and their production needs. The biggest business he did was when the 2016 "Ghostbusters" movie was filming in Boston, contributing $50,000 to the operation's sales in the course of a summer. With about six years of experience serving the entertainment industry, Robichau says most of his business comes from repeat customers, and others who have heard of his company through word-of-mouth recommendations, even leading to sales outside the state. "There aren't many retail stores that production teams can turn to in a bind," Robichau says. "Because of our reputation, we've even had our business sought out by groups filming outside Boston. In fact, when a Netflix series called "Mindhunter" was filming in Philadelphia, the head of their scenic department reached out to me and asked us to deliver products to them." Whether someone comes to the store to pick up an order or Robichau gets in his truck and delivers right to the set, he admires the work that is created with the products he sells. "The people in the film industry are very impressive artists and builders," Robichau says. "I always find it so interesting when I get to deliver to the set and see what they're making before it's on screen. It's cool to know Backstage Hardware played a role in the creation of a show." One of the most important product lines a retailer needs to have on hand when selling theatrical equipment to the entertainment industry is gaffer tape, which is used to mark the stage for actors and keep cords secured.

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