Before and after: Sears Appliance & Hardware gets right-sized
The proliferation of the Sears Appliance & Hardware brand had been largely at a standstill for the past decade. That’s how long it had been since a new location had been built.
Before: Standing at 22,000 sq. ft. to 25,000 sq. ft., the standard SAH model was stuck in no man’s land in terms of the neighborhood hardware store/big-box binary. “Today’s retail landscape is comprised of mostly big boxes or more intimate neighborhood store experiences. There aren’t many players in the middle still in business,” said David Buckley, CMO of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, which split from Sears Holdings about one year ago. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores decided to roll out a smaller-format store prototype, beginning with the construction of a new location in Dallas.
At 16,000 sq. ft. to 18,000 sq. ft., the new model manages to be considerably smaller without losing any of its essential content.
After: The Dallas store is still hot out of the oven, but it’s already doing what well-performing mom-and-pops do best, which is live by the mantra of “less is more.” The new stores place a higher premium on showcasing bestsellers through a consultative sales process, while making items that are unavailable in the store easily ordered and delivered to the customer.
“You don’t have to have everything on the sales floor, but in the case of hardware stores, you need [project necessities] on-hand,” Buckley said. “We’re able to offer a convenient and relevant hardware assortment, as well as an experience that’s differentiated from most hardware stores: one that’s more convenient and more centered around the customer.”
Similar stores are cropping up in Big Rapids, Mich., and Cedar City, Utah.
America’s favorite small business
Plainview, N.Y.-based Trio Hardware won the Independent We Stand’s third-annual Indie Awards, which honors small businesses across the country as part of the organization’s advocacy efforts.
More than 32,000 votes were counted for more than 250 businesses; 2,024 of them (10% of Plainview’s population) went to Trio Hardware, a fixture of its Long Island community for 50 years.
With its large amassment of votes placing the store squarely in the top 10, the rest of the work was left to a panel of judges, who deemed Trio Hardware worthy of the title.
The store is the subject of fierce loyalty and community involvement among Plainview members, who rallied around it to defeat the proposed opening of a national big-box store nearby. They were also responsible for restocking its shelves after it was razed by a fire in 1996.
In addition to the 2013 Independent We Stand Independent Small Business of the Year Award, the store will also receive $15,000 in prizes.
Rocky’s helps pets with food drive
Launching its third annual Holiday Pet Food Drive, Springfield, Mass.-based Rocky’s Ace Hardware teamed with Nutro Pet Foods to help homeless and abandoned pets. The drive runs now through Dec. 23.
Each of the 32 Rocky’s Ace Hardware stores have partnered with an area Humane Society or Shelter to collect food this Holiday Season for the much forgotten and unfortunate animals in our own community.
“The drive has become an annual tradition here at Rocky’s. It’s a fantastic opportunity for concerned individuals to help innocent animals without having to make a separate trip to their area Animal Shelter or Humane Society,” said Rocco Falcone, president and CEO.
Here is how the program works: Customers make donations of much needed pet food at their local Rocky’s Ace Hardware store, specially marked signs and a collection basket will guide customers to the collection area. The stores, will then in turn collect all donations and drive them to their locally chosen charity. Nutro Pet Foods has partnered with Rocky’s in donating more than $1,500 worth of premium dog and cat food to kickstart the program. Donations will be delivered directly to the Shelter or Humane Society on or about Dec. 24, 2013.
Last year, the second annual pet food drive resulted in more than 6,500 pounds of food and many toys, pet beds and other needed accessories being donated to a long list of worthy humane societies and animal shelters. “This year our drive has been lengthened by one week. Every year we increase the amount donated, thereby helping even more neglected animals. Still, this year we will strive to surpass last years’ collection,” said Geoffrey Webb, director of marketing.
Earlier this year, Rocky’s accepted the HCN 2013 Retailer of the Year Award from HCN during the Golden Hammer Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.