HARDWARE STORES

Not your typical holiday ads

BY Brae Canlen

Blackhawk Hardware, an Ace dealer in Charlotte, N.C., decided to spice things up this holiday season by producing some racy TV ads. The 15-second spots are running on Comedy Central in the 11 p.m. time slot. There are two versions, one for female and one for male shoppers.

Store designers Andy Wilkerson and Kristina Abbot said they were aiming for “elegantly sexy” when they put together the commercials, which they hope bring younger customers into the boutique sections of the hardware store. Blackhawk has more traditional ads that run on other cable stations, but Wilkerson told Charlotte Fox News that, “It’s so hard to explain what Blackhawk is that I decided that we shouldn’t try to explain it. You just have to experience it."

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Two stores. One block. Game on.

BY Brae Canlen

Two family-owned hardware stores, an Ace and a Do it Best, are going up against each other on the same block in Minneapolis, according to a news report on KSTP-TV. Although the owners remain friendly, the competition is not.

Bayers Do it Best hardware has operated the only hardware store in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis for 88 years. Owner Bob Bayer said he was surprised when a longtime neighboring store that specialized in general merchandise decided to expand six weeks ago and become an Ace hardware dealer.

“Our customers drove this decision,” said Mark Settergren, whose family also operates a Settergren Ace Hardware at another Minneapolis location.

The two dealers briefly discussed merging the operations but could not come to terms, according to the article.

Although it is now the smaller hardware store, Bayers Do it Best Hardware has decided to bring in convenience items like food to distinguish it from the new Ace dealer.  “We know we can have better prices and beat them at that game,” Bayer said.

Settergren, whose family has been in the retail business for 116 years, said he’s not looking for a fight. “This is not a hardware war at all,” he added. “It’s win-win for everybody.”

Bayer disagrees. “Are we at war with each other, competing? Yes we are.” 

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Census Bureau’s advance monthly sales creep upward

BY HBSDealer Staff

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for October were $397.7 billion, an increase of 0.5% from the previous month and 7.2% above October 2010. 

Building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (NAICS 444) increased slightly from month to month, improving to $25.770 billion, up from $25.388 billion in September. Compared with a year ago, sales of 444 category retailers increased 5.6%, according to the report released Tuesday morning.

The figures are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes. Total sales for the August through October 2011 period were up 7.6% from the same period a year ago. The August to September 2011 percent change was unrevised from +1.1%.

Retail trade sales were up 0.6% from September 2011 and 7.3% above last year. Nonstore retailers sales were up 11.1% from last year.

On an unadjusted basis, the government data showed hardware stores in September — the latest month of available data — had sales of $1.644 billion, down 8.1%  from $1.788 billion in October. but up 9.9% from $1.496 billion in September 2010. 

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