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Staten Island stores donate fans

BY HBSDealer Staff

Several retailers on Staten Island, including two hardware stores, have donated fans to low-income senior citizens who may be at risk because of the heat wave in New York, according to an article in the Staten Island Real-Time News.

The “Fans for Seniors” programs began with a call to the office of City Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) by a non-profit senior agency asking for help in securing donated air conditioners. But local retailers were all sold out. So the councilwoman’s staff asked for fans instead.

Doody’s Home Improvement, Ace Hardware, Best Buy and Target all stepped forward with box fans, which are being distributed by Richmond Senior Services and Meals on Wheels of Staten Island. 

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Service outweighs price in appliance survey

BY Brae Canlen

A customer satisfaction survey by J.D. Powers and Associates found that sales, delivery and installation service are slightly more important than facilities, product assortment and price when it comes to buying major appliances. 

Combined, the importance of the sales staff, delivery and installation service factors slightly exceed the combined importance of the store facility, merchandise and price factors (51% versus 49%, respectively). Courtesy of the sales staff is the most important aspect within the sales staff and service factor, while courtesy of delivery personnel is the most important element of delivery service.

"Appliance retailers often try to compete on price and merchandise, but the main differentiator when it comes to satisfaction is having knowledgeable and courteous staff available to assess and help meet customer needs," said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

Lowe’s ranked highest in customer satisfaction with appliance retailers for a second consecutive year, achieving a score of 807 on a 1,000-point scale. The North Carolina home improvement chain performed particularly well in four of the six factors: store facility, price, delivery service and installation service. Following Lowe’s in the ranking were hhgregg (799), Sears (793) and Home Depot (783). 

The 2011 Appliance Retailer Study is based on responses from more than 4,400 customers who purchased a laundry or kitchen appliance within the previous 24 months from a major appliance retailer. The study was fielded between March and April 2011.

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Empire Level commits to “Made in USA” approach

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Mukwonago, Wis.-based Empire Level Manufacturing Corp. said "Made in USA" products are playing a bigger role in its performance and marketing.

The company pointed to stats showing an increase of 20% in revenue from "Made in USA" products, compared with five years ago. Also, 80% of Empire Level’s products are now manufactured and assembled entirely in the United States.

“As the fifth-generation family member to serve as president of Empire Level, I have made it my mission to manufacture as much as possible in the USA,” said Jenni Becker, president. “This company was built on innovation, and we decided that we could innovate our way back to our ‘Made in USA’ roots, through a combination of revolutionary product design and original, patented manufacturing processes. That ‘can-do attitude’ is part of our DNA, and we have been very successful in our efforts to bring our products home.”

The company’s research has shown that more than 60% of professional contractors prefer to buy tools that are made in the United States, and are even willing to pay more for them. A 2009 Yankelovich study found that about 40% of consumers from all demographic age ranges — Millenials, Xers, Boomers and Mature adults — have a strong preference for buying products that are "Made in USA," and  almost 70% consider buying American products as part of their duty as U.S. citizens. 

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