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 50 He might not have realized then, but being honored as a Young Retailer of the Year marked another significant milestone in James' career. It got him involved with NRHA. "The awards were definitely how I first got exposed to NRHA," he says. "I saw it as an additional training opportunity for us, but over time, it turned into so much more." A Little Nonsense, Now and Then… With the early years behind him, James' youthful exuberance began being colored by a fair bit of retail wisdom. After a flurry of store openings and expansions, James found himself reconsidering some of these decisions. "I think over the years, one of the things that has defined us is that, for good or bad, we are not scared to try things," he says. "I have probably opened up ten different stores—closed some, sold some—but we've never been scared to try things." Today, James does most of his retail experimen- tation from his single store in Cut Off. He has also launched a dollar store concept called Hi-5 where all products are priced between $1 and $5. But it's the 30,000-square-foot hardware store that provides plenty of room for the master-retail tinkerer to try out ideas—from a full-service grocery store to guns and ammo and a milkshake machine to a selection of craft beers. Kief Hardware even added a virtual video arcade so younger visitors can come in and play games while their parents shop. "We understand that the kids coming into our store today are going to be homeowners in a few short years, so we want to make sure they have good memories about shopping here," he says. But when it comes to products, even James admits sometimes the Kief team may get a bit ahead of themselves. "We try so many different things sometimes I feel a little silly because we are actually ahead of the curve on stuff," he says. "You know, we are like four or five years ahead of the trend." As one example, James remembers adding a key cutting station that would accommodate chip keys long before most car dealers even offered the technology. "You just have to visit James' store to realize that he is unlike a lot of retailers when it comes to his willingness to try things," says Bill Lee, NRHA's president and CEO. "It's not just with the products; there is always something going on in his store that just lets you know it's kind of different than any other store you might have been in before." In addition to the array of unique products, another thing you'll likely notice when shopping at Kief Hardware is the happy, engaged staff roaming the aisles. Some retailers talk about how they create "I think over the years, one of the things that has defined us is that, for good or bad, we are not scared to try things." —James Cabirac, Kief Hardware James constantly introduces new services and goods in Kief Hardware, including a T-shirt printing service, a milk shake machine and more.

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