Change is in the aisle – at Havasu Hardware

Better flow, bigger sales: A hardware store associate and the team redesign their store aisle.
Havasu hardware new aisle
The team at Havasu Hardware, standing in their new aisle. From left: Myra, Jill, Greg, Maggie, Tyler and Becki.


Can a store associate contribute to the management of a hardware store in a meaningful way and make a difference – not just in the look and feel, but the bottom line?

For the answer, we’ll shoot on down to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and hear straight from a Do it Best dealer, Havasu Hardware’s Erica McCorkle, the company president.

Let’s go….

“Learning in the classroom is one thing. Learning by getting your hands dirty in the real world is another. But what if you can do both?” That was the clever rhetorical question posed by McCorkle.

Through a professional development program designed to help students learn to think like a manager, Havasu Hardware Store Associate Maggie Trahan identified a barrier to sales that was detracting from the customer experience within her store – and implemented a solution.

The Havasu Hardware team had long been aware of an oddly configured section near the cashier station that mostly hid a short aisle of kitchen gadgets, Velcro, squeezes, and tape, the company said.

But no one knew how to fix it.

After an industry training session with other retailers got her thinking about the space, Trahan showed a doodle of a new layout to McCorkle.

Soon, a scaled layout was approved, and the team began moving fixtures and laying carpet.

McCorkle said that Trahan brought her a, “floor layout change in our cashier area. The conversation went like this: Maggie said, ‘How mad would your dad be if we remodeled?’ I said, show me what you’re thinking.”

Havasu pano
Panoramic view of the newly redesigned aisle configuration, with the team, at Havasu Hardware.


Trahan presented McCorkle with a drawing of their store’s cashier area, “which worked but not with the best flow, and it was already modified from our original remodel which was 10 years ago,” said McCorkle.

“We sat down and took in all the employees’ opinions on what would be the most efficient. Eventually, we came up with what we have now.”

It was a month’s preparation. They closed Christmas and the day after to get this project done.

“The cashiers have a ton more space, there is flow, and we even gained an endcap,” said McCorkle.

Trahan’s idea took just two days to complete and has had a continued positive impact on sales and the overall customer experience.

So far, the new layout has led to user-friendly aisles with improved traffic flow – and a 50% increase in impulse sales, said the company.

And it all started with a store associate creating real-world solutions.