Hardware Retailing

FEB 2017

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 2017 62 Should You Sell Homebrew Products? For retailers who haven't sold homebrew items or are interested in expanding upon a small homebrew selection, it's important to consider several factors before diving in. As with any new niche or product line, there is a lot to determine before moving forward, including the potential audience, the space required and the product knowledge you'll need. At Karp's Hardware and Homebrew in East Northport, New York, homebrew has been a part of the business for more than 20 years. When store owner Alan Talman first added the category in 1995, he says it was a way to attract customers during the winter months. However, his homebrew business is now just as competitive as any of his store's core categories, Talman says. "If you're selling the homebrew hobby, but you're not out in your community, meeting local homebrewers, attending events or don't even know how to homebrew, you might as well be Amazon," Talman says. "You need to have an employee who your customers can connect to homebrewing. Whether it's you or another employee, this will make a big difference in establishing your business as a go-to spot for your homebrewer customers." Although Brewer's True Value has offered a homebrew department for four years now, before entering the market, Brewer got some help building the department from an employee who was very skilled in the hobby. After looking at the need for homebrew products and seeing the lack of local places to buy them, it made sense to go for it. "I started small in homebrewing because I wasn't sure about the market," Brewer says. "We're in a suburban area. Since opening the department, I've expanded my salesfloor. Plus, I've gotten involved with the local homebrew organizations." Brewer suggests retailers investigate the local interest in the hobby before investing in the category. "See if customers have another place to get their homebrew equipment," Brewer says. "If not, I think it's a great category for any home improvement business. If there is another local homebrew shop, think about what they have and what you would bring if you got in the market." " Since opening the department, I've expanded my salesfloor. Plus, I've gotten involved with the local homebrew organizations. " —David Brewer, Brewer's True Value Hardware When a customer walks through Brewer's True Value, they can't miss the homebrewing department. Not only does the store stock starter kits, but seasoned brewers can pick up all the ingredients they need for their next batch of beer.

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