Hardware Retailing

FEB 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 | February 2019 76 The top way retailers identify where to add to their product selections is by listening to customers, according to the NRHA data. Retailer panelists who discussed hot growth areas affirmed the research, while also offering other ideas for staying on top of what customers want. For example, Matt Woods, owner of Woods Hardware in Cincinnati, has taken contractors out for coffee to get their input on new products and categories to grow. "They've been my best resources for trends and niches," he says. Joe Franquinha, owner of Crest True Value Hardware and Urban Garden Center in New York, also finds trade shows and industry publications helpful for staying abreast of new and growing trends. In addition to doing as Woods and Franquinha recommend, Jamie Gentner, chief operating officer for Center Hardware & Supply in San Francisco, looks to her knowledgeable staff and local artisans for insight into what her product mix should be. Finding Big Success Three successful retailers took the stage during the conference to provide in-depth discussions of how they have grown their businesses through expansion projects. Their keynote presentations spotlighted three approaches to growth—adding a new destination department; adapting a large operation's business model to work in small locations; and creating a high-end customer experience that can be replicated in many new and acquired stores. Blooming in the Garden: Crest Hardware Franquinha saw potential for a lawn and garden department at his family's store and found a multifaceted approach for expanding the business. In 2006, Crest Hardware had a 4-foot section for lawn and garden products, such as fertilizer. The next year, Franquinha added live plants and hardscaping materials. In 2009, he oversaw construction of a 5,000-square-foot garden center. 76 HARDWARE RETAILING | February 2019 Matt Woods (left) of Woods Hardware, Jamie Gentner (center) of Center Hardware and Joe Franquinha of Crest Hardware share ideas for how to identify opportunities for growth in new products and categories.

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