Hardware store all-stars: La., Maine and Md.
The Home Channel News coast-to-coast and state-by-state search for All-Star hardware stores turns to Louisiana, Maine and Maryland.
Ed’s Shenandoah Hardware
If biology is destiny, Ed Beard is living proof that the hardware industry has the greater gravitational pull. The 36-year-old Handy Hardware dealer began working in the store at the age of 14. All through college, where he majored in biological sciences, he continued to work full time. Soon after graduation, he bought the store from his boss. Now Ed’s Shenandoah Hardware in Baton Rogue, La. bears his distinct imprint: niche categories like beekeeping supplies, hunting, fishing and archery; and local outdoor cooking appliances like banjo burners, crawfish boilers, jambalaya pots, and a full line of high-end grills and smokers. “We meet everyone at the door and take them where they need to go,” Beard said.
Oak Hill Ace Hardware
“You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave” were lyrics from the hit song “Hotel California.” Oak Hill Ace Hardware in Scarborough is a little like that. You visit here one time and cannot leave because you do not want to, said general manager Dan Johnson. “We’re quick, we’re nice, we’re helpful,” he said. “So many people are wowed by how helpful we are.” Oak Hill is known for the depth and breadth of its lawn and garden products, paints, hand tools and power tools.
From the Eisenhower administration to the present day, Strosniders Hardware has served the Washington, D.C., area with a strategy of service and convenience. Fifteen years ago, National Home Center News profiled the Bethesda, Md., location as a bona fide “Great American Hardware Store.” Today the company also operates in Potomac, Md., and Silver Spring, Md.
Next week, all-star profiles of Massachussets, Michigan and Minnesota.
Nazareth Hardware reopens under new name
Although they’ve never been in the hardware business before, a pair of entrepreneurs has reopened the closed hardware store on Main St. in Nazareth, Pa., because they think it has a future, according to an article in The Morning Call.
Barbara Werkheiser, chief claims consultant for Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, and Mike Meixell, a maintenance supervisor at a nearby retirement home, visited hardware stores in several states before teaming up with the PRO Group and opening Nazareth Hometown Hardware. They are on the location of the former Nazareth Hardware, which closed in 2009 due in part to the poor economy, according to the article.
Werkheiser said she is banking on the store’s proximity and superior customer service to help them compete against neighboring big boxes.
Hardware store all-stars: Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky
The May issue of Home Channel News compiled the first-ever state-by-state Hardware Store All Star list. Here are three more of the 50: standout stores from Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky.
With 59 stores spread across the upper Midwest, Sioux City, Iowa-based Bomgaars is a classic family owned retailer that opened an impressive 10 stores last year, expanding its footprint into Colorado and Wyoming. Not your typical hardware store, Bomgaars’ major departments expand beyond paint, hardware and tools and include farm, pet, clothing and footwear.
Westlake Ace Hardware
In early 2010, this 88-store hardware chain based in Lenexa, Kan., reexamined its business model and revamped its service standards through a Project North Star optimization program. One result is a new tagline reflecting commitment to service: “Small projects. Big know-how. Ask away.” Another is the rollout of 25 Lawn and Garden Centers this spring. It appears to be working. Same-store sales increased 3% last year, and are running at an increase of 4.5% so far this year.
Brownsboro Hardware & Paint
Brownsboro Hardware has been recognized by Do it Best as a high-performance independent that competes and wins against some tough home improvement competition in suburban Louisville. The store is Kentucky’s largest Weber Grill dealer. How? By working at it constantly. “Whether it’s Dec. 3 or July 3, we roll those grills onto our sidewalk every day,” owner Jim Lehrer said. “And that has become kind of a billboard for us.” A second location, this one in Prospect, Ky., opened in April.
Coming Thursday: Louisiana, Maine and Maryland.