Before and after: Stanley's Hardware

The makeover of Stanley's involved adding space to create a 13,000-sq.-ft. store.

Before: Stanley's Hardware in Philadelphia started out as a mom-and-pop card, candy and smoke shop in 1948, later evolving into a hardware store after relocating a mile away in 1958. Years later, it's still in the family under third-generation owners Joe and Mark Jaconski, only now it carries the Destination True Value (DTV) seal.

Things that hadn't changed since 1958: its enviable location on the town's main drag and the problematic 2,800 sq. ft. of space it contained. The family had expanded into an adjoining building in the 1970s, which served as additional retail and storage space. The limited space meant that customers were often unable to see all the merchandise they had in stock. "We'd have light fixtures on display, but we'd have our stock upstairs," Mark said. "Anytime someone wanted something, we'd have to run up there. We made the space work, but it was very inefficient."

Solution: The brothers reached a tipping point last year, and they decided to remodel — right on top of the existing store's parking lot. This allowed the store to maintain its business hours right up until the old store needed to be demolished.

The solution was simple: triple the space. The new store measures 13,000 sq. ft., with roughly 10,000 going to retail space and 2,250 allotted to a building in back that now serves as extra storage. The brothers believed in DTV's bright, open layout, and they were especially eager to appeal to female shoppers. The transformation involved a housewares department, as well as lawn and garden products that feature flowers and live plants.

The new space also opened doors in the form of additional niche markets. Mark and Joe's store now offers garden and rental, as well as Dickies clothing.

After: More elbow room, brighter displays, expanded product offerings and a much smarter workflow are among the changes since opening February 2013, with construction continuing into March and April. April saw a 48% increase in sales, even though the parking lot was still a work in progress.

"People love the new space because everything is bright and airy," Mark said. "It's extremely female friendly, which was a huge component that caught our eye with the Destination True Value model. It was so important to us to have a female-friendly store."

More space has meant more sales to the tune of 62% in the second quarter alone. The average sale is up 20%, but many of the added benefits are non-quantifiable.

"We're known for service first — now everyone can do both," Mark said. "Everyone's accessible. I don't have half my crew outside carrying stuff around."

That being said, customers seem content to help themselves. With more products, more space to encounter them in and a better layout, the trouble is no longer finding what they need — it's discovering what they may want as well.

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