HARDWARE STORES

A home center goes high tech

BY HBSDealer Staff

With aggressive growth as a goal, Bonners Ferry, Idaho-based Pro X Home Center will launch the Epicor Eagle N Series retail business management solution across its business. The idea is to improve inventory management, gain access to in-depth business analytics, streamline employee scheduling and expand the company’s online store.

Pro X Home Center is an independently owned member of Do it Best, stocked with products tailored for the surrounding community and an online catalog that features more than 67,000 items.

“Our business growth has shot through the roof over the last few years, which has been very exciting,” said Jeff Brubaker, owner of Pro X Home Center. “This growth has put us in a position for expansion, but in order to attain that expansion we needed a retail business management solution that could help get our business in order. Our previous point-of-sale system was holding us back, as it was not providing us with the information we required, specifically around inventory management and analytics. We are moving to the Epicor Eagle N Series solution because it will help deliver the results we need to support the company — including real-time data in our current location, which will be crucial for expansion into other areas — to make proactive decisions, and grow.”

Pro X Home Center has also selected the Epicor Scheduling solution to better equip the business with appropriate staffing levels.

“We decided to add the Epicor Scheduling+ tool for a couple of reasons,” said Susan Shope, general ledger manager of Pro X Home Center. “First, we were finding problems with our current timekeeping program. The information was not being transported correctly from the time clock device to the software management piece. In our old system, we were doing manual adjustments at the end of the month to add payroll into the system, so we were unable to tell how wages were affecting our bottom line, except at month end. Second, we liked the fact that it would be easy to see the sales volume in comparison to the labor force. We hope by using Epicor Scheduling+ software we will be able to more accurately predict the busy times, not only selling, but also other factors like stocking and inventory, and be better prepared with personnel.”

The longstanding relationship between Epicor and Do it Best Corp. gives hardware, lumber and building materials members that use the Eagle N Series solution seamless access to the cooperative information they need.

“Because of the easy access to the Do it Best catalog and vendor information within Eagle N Series software, we will no longer need to go back and forth between various programs. All the information we need will be available at the click of a button in one system,” said Brubaker.

With a successful and expanding online store, Pro X Home Center will also deploy the Epicor iNet eBusiness Suite. “Epicor iNet eBusiness Suite software was selected for future expansion we hope to make. We understand that many people do not use brick and mortar stores as much, and we want to capture a part of the population we may be missing. By allowing our customers to view not only everything we stock, but also items that we can special order, we will improve customer engagement and meet all of our customers known and unknown needs, wants, and wishes,” Shope said.

“As we implement Epicor iNet, our contractor customers will certainly appreciate the online access to account information,” Brubaker said. “With e-statements, e-invoices, and e-purchase orders, we will be able to easily and automatically email invoices, statements, and purchase orders to our vendors. I have no doubt this will save us time and money, as well as increase customer satisfaction since they will have quick access to the information they need.”

“Epicor Eagle N Series offers the industry-specific functionality our customers need to successfully and efficiently run a retail operation,” said Doug Smith, director, product marketing, retail and distribution, Epicor Software.

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HBSDealer is looking for a few good All-Stars

BY HBSDealer Staff

In 2011, HBSDealer launched an All-Star idea — recognize a high-performing hardware or building supply dealer in each one of the 50 states.

The trend continues in 2017 with the STIHL Hardware All-Stars awards, to be presented in the May issue of HBSDealer.

To date, HBSDealer has recognized about 300 hardware stores, lumberyards and farm and ranch retailers across the country as All-Stars.

All-Stars contain one or more of the following attributes:

1) High levels of customer service;
2) High performance – growth, sales, profit or any other metric;
3) Deep involvement in the community;
4) Innovative culture;
5) Outstanding merchandising and store design;
6) Willingness to take risks;
7) A passion for philanthropy;
8) Excellence in training;
9) Ability to adapt to trends and society; or
10) Generally, just an all-around all-star retailer

Do any of these qualities describe a store in your neighborhood? We’d love your input.

To nominate a store for recognition in the STIHL Hardware All-Stars awards program, just send a sentence or two about the store to [email protected]. Please include the store’s full name, as well as its city and state. 

Check out last year’s All-Star class here.

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Center Hardware & Supply moves to the Dogpatch

BY HBSDealer Staff

A family-owned San Francisco hardware store is moving to a new location after 30 years.

Center Hardware & Supply Co., and its 135-year Bay Area history, will move to a new 20,000 sq. ft. retail location in the Dogpatch neighborhood. The new building carries 30% more products in-stock and ready to purchase. It also has a larger parking lot (40 cars) and easy access to the I-280 and 101 freeways.

“We like to say we are woven into the fabric of this city,” Jamie Gentner said. “Whether you are a homeowner who needs a single light bulb or a city contractor who needs bulbs for the entire Bay Bridge, we can supply what you need and our sales staff will treat you like a king. Our new location will make it even easier to shop with us, and we have expanded our inventory to offer our wide-range of customers even more products that are available immediately.”

Keith Gentner, Jamie’s father, have run and operated Center Hardware since 1980, when Keith merged Ocean View Hardware into Center Hardware. Center Hardware sells more than 60,000 unique items and offers specialized concierge-level service.

The store celebrated the move with a grand opening and ribbon cutting on Friday, with all-day activities including food trucks, discounts, vendor demonstrations and product giveaways.

The new store will be the only Milwaukee tool destination store in San Francisco, offering a full line of Milwaukee tools, customized displays and special products. It will also be the only certified full-line dealer (CFLD) in San Francisco for Stabila.

The store expanded its selection of paints, including popular brands such as Valspar and has added paint mixing services.

A little history 

Center Hardware opened in 1880 as PA Smith Hardware & Glass on the corner of 4th and Brannan streets. When the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed the shop, the owner Peter Smith moved PA Smith Hardware to a ramshackle building on Bluxome Street. PA Smith Hardware & Glass stayed in business on Bluxome Street until the 4th and Brannan store was rebuilt. In the 1930s the shop was sold to Heinz Zolbach and the store name was changed to Center Hardware. Zolbach operated Center Hardware until the Blanz family bought the store in the 1970s.

When Ernie Gentner returned from WWII in the 1940s he took over the operation of Ocean View Hardware from his uncle in San Francisco’s Ocean View neighborhood. Ernie and his son, Keith Gentner, turned Ocean View Hardware into a robust neighborhood business complete with tool rentals and other services.

In 1980, Keith Gentner bought into Center Hardware. Ocean View Hardware was no more, but business at Center Hardware was booming. Within a few years, Gentner expanded Center Hardware’s business and inventory to the point that the little store on 4th Street was bursting at the seams. In 1987, Center Hardware moved to Mariposa Street and the merchandise grew to 20,000 sq. ft.

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