Hardware Retailing

APR 2011

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/41376

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Page 60 of 71

Your Eye the Ball On the flight down to a recent buy- ing market, my merchandising manager held up a copy of the Wall Street Journal (from Tuesday, Feb. 23) with Walmart on the front page and showed me an article titled, 'Walmart Tries to Recapture Winning Formula.' The article basically talked about how even Walmart, the world's largest retailer, can lose its way when they for- get their core customers and why these customers shop their stores. It went on to discuss how Walmart, in its attempts to broaden its appeal, began to stray from the customers that helped grow the busi- ness to what it is. Not too dissimilar from the path we started down with the grills. The difference is, we are able to correct our course and immediately return to our core value proposition. So as I finish writing this article at the hotel after just attending my distributor's February buying show, www.nrha.org I can tell you from being on the floor for a couple of days and talking to fellow independent retailers and ven- dors alike: We have an interesting year ahead of us. However, one thing was very clear: There is a great need and opportunity for good, well-mer- chandised, well-stocked independent hardware retailers. Of course we need to take advantage of all the great technology and innovative products our industry has developed but we also have to remain true to our core. Remember what I had to learn the hard way. When someone, especially a person making their living doing a project, needs something they are not looking for the "coolest" store with a complete aisle of barbeque sauces. They want a convenient, knowledgeable core hardware store. Keep your eye on the ball, take care of your best customers and they will take care of you. Tony Brookhouse is the co-owner of Koopman Lumber, a chain of three home centers based in Massachusetts, and a member of the North American Retail Hardware Association's Board of Directors. "QSJM t )BSEXBSF Retailing 59

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