Hardware Store Nation: The Top 25
They don’t make hardware stores like they used to. They make them better.
They’ve got to be better.
Today’s successful hardware store faces competitive threats unlike anything our grandparents faced. For starters, there’s a $100 billion, 2,000 store home center giant that earned $2 billion in each of its first three quarters of its current fiscal year. Then there’s the digital disruption from Amazon.
Let’s not sugar coat it. HBSDealer keeps track of hardware store closings, and they are common. And the common refrain in local newspaper “exit interviews” with former owners is competition from the aforementioned hastened their demise.
Still, from the independent owners and operators around the country — in phone interviews, at trade shows, during store visits — a different story emerges: Hardware stores are not endangered, they are energized. Here are some of their stories:
- Woydziak Do it Best lights up a small town.
- Carr Hardware takes home the Indie and talks growth.
- Center Hardware preserves a brand — and a culture — in San Francisco.
And those that are thriving, appear to be playing with the same playbook:
- Use your strengths. Hardware stores are nimble, friendly and convenient.
- Plant your flag in the community. Amazon, with all its warehouses, can’t duplicate that.
- Invest in your environment. Top performers invite customers to shop, not just pick up.
- You’re only as good as your people. The battle is taking place on the front lines, where customers interact with people on the floor. You won’t see many owners accepting an award while neglecting to credit these people.
Top 25 Hardware Stores
Ranked by estimated sales, the following list of “Hardware Stores” updates a previous version published in 2007, and uses information from the Top 300 Industry Scoreboard. For the purposes of tracking the hardware store sector, here are some defining features, to be used carefully:
Hardware Store noun
[ hahrd-wair • stohr ]
- Purveyor of home improvement products and advice.
- Operates in stores less than 60,000 sq. ft.
- Caters to homeowners, while embracing the pro contractor.
- Always evolving to meet community needs.