Hardware Retailing

SEP 2016

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 | September 2016 46 From Milkshakes to Pokèmon, Cabirac Keeps Retail Exciting The Cool CAJUN T here's something about James Cabirac's impish grin that immediately lets you know his grade school teachers likely had their hands full. Even today, you can clearly detect the hint of mischief in his eyes that suggests he's got some sort of plan brewing that has little to do with the conversation at hand. Talk to James for a few moments and these plans come bubbling out in almost stream of consciousness fashion— promotional ideas, products he's considering, plans for the business, thoughts about the association. Yes, at any given moment there are a lot of ideas swirling around behind James' smile, and there's a fair share of mischief as well. As the newest chairman of the board of directors for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and a highly regarded operator of two separate retail businesses in Southern Louisiana, there is no questioning James' success. But what makes James truly unique isn't necessarily his retail acumen; it's his somewhat unorthodox approach to injecting fun into nearly every aspect of his operation that truly sets him apart. And when it comes to fun, he doesn't just approach it like he's ticking another box on a retail marketing plan—he takes the idea of blending fun and retail to Willy Wonka-ish proportions. "James is a fantastic guy and a fantastic retailer," says fellow retailer Adam Busscher, who has served on NRHA's board with James for nearly a decade. "He's got some of the wildest, most fun ideas I've ever seen. He's just fearless when it comes to trying things. I can't say how much I admire that." The Golden Ticket Located on the edge of Bayou Lafourche in Southeastern Louisiana, the town of Galliano is everything you might expect to find in this part of the country. Shrimp boats hustle in and out of the nearby ports, oil workers come and go for their weeklong shifts on floating derricks and alligator farming is a way of life. It was here that a young James Cabirac began looking for a job, any job, that would allow him to support himself as a teenager. James had graduated high school early and was hoping to make enough money to attend college when fate intersected with his plans. "I was really looking for a job that I could walk to, because I didn't have a car," recalls James. "There was the hardware store and a grocery store, and I had applied at both. I got a job offer from both of them on the same day. I almost chose the grocery store. If I had, I don't think I ever would have had the opportunities I have been given." By Dan Tratensek, dant@nrha.org

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