HARDWARE STORES

At House-Hasson, a more powerful Web tool

BY Ken Clark

Called etoolbox.net, the new dealer-exclusive website enables orders through the Internet and the latest product information for the 105-year-old distributor.

House-Hasson Hardware has inaugurated a new dealer-exclusive website, etoolbox.net, which enables dealers to order via the Internet and get up-to-the-second information on House-Hasson’s more than 50,000 products. 

Accessed by a user name and password, etoolbox.net was created in response to customer requests, said Don Hasson, president of House-Hasson.

“We want our dealers to always have premier programs,” Hasson said. “We talked to them about what they wanted, needed and would like, and created etoolbox.net to give them more tools, features and benefits.

“One of our most significant new tools is the product index,” Hasson said. “We’ve taken all our fine-line classes and indexed them on etoolbox.net. Using keywords, a dealer looking for a specific item can find it quickly and not have to search through large groupings.

The dealer information on the website is always current, and dealer ordering is simplified because information collected on their hand-held CipherLab units is transmitted directly to the etoolbox.net website using the dealer’s Internet connection, Hasson added.

Ron Yatteau, House-Hasson’s electronic dealer services director, explained how etoolbox.net and CipherLab work together. “Using his CipherLab hand-held device, a dealer scans bin tags, puts the CipherLab into a cradle and accesses etoolbox.net,” Yatteau said. “The information in the CipherLab appears as an order on the dealer’s House-Hasson customer site. The information is customized to and for the dealer and includes the store’s sales history and pricing.”

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Florida hardware store bans the penny

BY Brae Canlen

An 84-year-old hardware store in Coconut Grove, Fla., has decided to join the modern movement to do away with pennies in cash transactions, according to an article in the Miami Herald.

Shell Lumber now has a large sign at the front door with an image of a penny with a red slash through it. It reads, “No more pennies!” The sign also explains that the store will round up cash sales in the customer’s favor, which maxes out at four cents. 

The store owner, who still gives out free popcorn and snow cones in the summer, said he was spending too much staff time counting roughly 1,200 pennies needed each day for the stores’ 10 registers. Credit card customers will pay the full amount because no pennies have to change hands.

Shell Lumber is following in the footsteps of military commissaries, which stopped shipping pennies overseas in the 1980s and randomly round up purchases on U.S. bases. Canada has announced a plan to eliminate its own one-cent piece as a cost-saving measure. 

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Ace dealer to use land bank for new Grand Rapids site

BY Brae Canlen

With the help of a county land bank and a city redevelopment agency, Rylee’s Ace Hardware is planning a new store on the site of an abandoned gas station in Grand Rapids, Mich., according to a report in MLive.com.

Rylee’s president Lori Terpstra, who also operates three other hardware stores, hopes to build a new 10,000 sq. ft. unit by early March, 2013. The project was made possible by  the Kent County Land Bank Authority, which decided to buy the property for $65,000-plus in back taxes on Rylee’s behalf before it went to a tax foreclosure auction. Rylee’s put up the money for the land bank acquisition, according to the news report. 

“It couldn’t happen without the land bank,” said the land bank agency’s executive director, David Allen. “We were able to assure them they wouldn’t have to go to the auction and compete with an out-of-state bidder.” The land bank, whose mission is to stabilize neighborhood property values, made no profit on the deal.

Because of the former gas station, the site is contaminated with several underground gasoline storage tanks that need removal. Funding from the city’s Economic Development Office and the Environmental Protection Agency will help the Ace dealer recoup the costs of the clean-up, according to the article. 

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