At True Value event, open casting
When True Value retailers assemble in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 20 to 22, the Chicago-based co-op will invite retailers to audition for its television campaigns.
According to Chris Taylor, True Value’s director of communications, the one-day-only open auditions for camera-friendly retailers will be among the highlights of the co-op’s market event. The retailers selected will play roles in the co-op’s national advertising campaign in 2012.
Also at the three-day market will be an increased emphasis on farm and ranch, Taylor said. While a small assortment of farm-and-ranch items was organized at the most recent True Value market in Philadelphia, the Orlando market will showcase a full-blown section with 90 vendors and 15 new product classes. Pet, equine and automotive will be among them.
"This is part of a longer-term strategy to help our retailers grow their businesses in new categories that are profitable," Taylor said.
The overarching theme for the event remains: "Winning at Retail," she added.
Hardware store sales grow in 2011
According to government data released this week, businesses classified as hardware stores showed gains for the month of December and the full year of 2011.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Monthly Retail Trade Report for December 2011 — the latest month of available data for hardware stores in the NAICS 44413 classification — hit $1.777 billion on an unadjusted basis. That’s up from $1.732 billion in November.
The unadjusted full-year sales for NAICS 44413 rose to $20.21 billion, up from $19.27 billion in 2010.
The full-year 2011 figure was the highest since 2008, when hardware store sales were $20.26 billion.
A made-for-TV hardware story
To those who still think social media is an exercise for those with more time than sense, consider this story from Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
A local resident named Jim Black looking to do something to support local business generally, and Chagrin Hardware specifically, wrote an email to about 40 friends. It read: “Let’s show our support for one of our local businesses. I challenge everyone to spend AT LEAST $20 at the hardware [store] on the 21st.”
A few Facebook postings later, the small business phenomenon known as a “cash mob” descended on the store and made the 21st of January the busiest day ever for Chagrin Hardware, a Do it Best dealer on 82 N. Main.
“We think probably 1,000 people came through the door,” third-generation co-owner Steve Shutts told Home Channel News. “Our big forte is being able to wait on people in the aisles. We couldn’t even do that because we were ringing the cash registers all day.”
Was it a surprise? “Actually, people had come in earlier in the week and said, ‘I want to spend my $20 now.’ We started asking questions, so we knew that something more was going to happen on the 21st.”
Since the store opened in 1857, it was the biggest sales day, with sales turbocharged by a factor of seven or eight, he said.
When asked how business was on a Wednesday in February, Shutts said: “It’s a little quieter today.”