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09/12/2022

Let’s see what the buyers are buying

What members purchased, and said about the hardware life, at the Do it Best show.
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DiB 2022 show Todd, Tara
These owners came to the recent Do it Best show to buy, and along the way, they wound up sharing a story from their hardware life.

The buyers were buying.

As hardware owners, when you get out to a show, you purchase product to fill your shelves.

And while you attend, you cross paths with other owners, and naturally you exchange stories of the hardware life.

Here are some of those buyer picks – along with a few insights on life in the hardware business – exchanged at the recent Do it Best 2022 Fall Market.  (Oh, and, toys are hot sellers.)

“We’re buying outdoor furniture sets for next spring and salt for winter,” said Todd Schryer and Tara Ecker, husband and wife owners of Rivertown Do it Center in Cheboygan, Michigan.

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DiB 2022 show Errol
Errol Town, working the show, chatted with this editor in the outdoor area about interests ranging from buyer appetite today to the home buying market in general, an affable fellow who was selling a lot of merchandise at the show.

They reflected what many attendees were hunting for – outdoor items.

Errol Town of Leisure Classics, working at one of the many green-carpeted “outdoor” areas inside the airy and expansive convention hall agreed. “I’m seeing lots of backyard and outdoor interest, lots of buyers buying. They want it now. It might not be here down the road,” he said.

Tina Frank and her co-owner of Neils Hardware in Michigan were browsing the area. “We’re buying outdoor furniture for next spring,” they echoed. But they had more to share about their hardware business.

“We went through a store re-design recently. We decided to do it all ourselves.”

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DiB 2022 show Tina and sister
Tina Frank, on left, and her co-owner, were picking up bargain deals on all sorts of outdoor furniture.

They had heard of the recently published Controlled Chaos Called Hardware article in HBSDealer and laughed, “we relate – we have to do all the jobs in our own store! Who’s gonna do it?”

They said, “we can’t find, or keep, good employees.” With a wave they moved off among the patio chairs and backyard setups to look for more purchase opportunities.

The owners from Rivertown came over with a story to tell from life in the hardware business. They had got the gist of the ‘Chaos’ story.

“Get this,” said Todd Schryer, “one morning early a guy pulls up on a motorcycle and comes in and is wandering around, not buying. My wife arrives and she also sees this guy who keeps coming in and out of the store multiple times, but not buying. We just know something is up.

“Finally, I see him pulling displays around in the plumbing department and moving them to the electrical department. I asked him what he’s doing, and the guy says, ‘It’s ok, I work here.’ – he does not!”

Eventually the owners had to call some help.

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DiB 2022 show Rescue product
Product was not only in the booths at the Fall Market, it was in special areas in the aisles for easy member access, like this Rescue product for example, where buyers could examine up close and make a purchase.

After sharing some smiles, the owners moved on.

Elsewhere, three vendors in the garden area said they were making plenty of sales at the show. “They are buying for sure,” said one booth rep from down the row.

“Business is solid,” one man said at the Bayou Classic booth selling a new Seafood & Event table. Another rep at a nearby booth selling upscale electronic fire pits said, “it’s strong, mostly repeat, not much new, but sales are good, and we love repeat customers.”

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DiB 2022 show Milwaukee tool
Effective product displays showcased at the Milwaukee Tool booth.

All The Tools

Milwaukee Tool was named the Do it Best 2022 Vendor of the Year for Overall Sales Growth.

“We’ve enjoyed growth across all solutions,” said Walter Knapp, company representative speaking in the expansive booth near the west entrance. “That includes our outdoor and hand tools.”

The Hardware Resources company was named the Do it Best 2022 Vendor of the Year for Hardware.

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DiB 2022 show Hardware Resources booth
The wall of hardware was, like, mesmerizing, to me man!

Amanda Dodd, standing in the company booth facing a wall of gleaming hardware, said, “we will continue our progress that we started, putting 500 planograms in 500 stores this year.”

Nearby, at the Duke Cannon booth, Miranda Morris, marketing manager, talked about her company being named Do it Best Vendor of the Year for Housewares. “We get so much support from Do it Best,” she smiled, “we’re here meeting new customers who haven’t put us in stores yet.”

Outdoor and hardware sections certainly got plenty of attention; so did the toy aisles. But one booth showing bright LED toys off on its own on a distant aisle-end near the back, had a story to tell.

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DiB 2022 show E-Blox glowing LED toys
“The hardware store is also the toy store.” – Jim Seymour, E-Blox

Light Up

“Members are buying toys like crazy,” said Jim Seymour at the petite E-Blox toy booth, revealing a handful of orders. Behind him his booth was a glowing display of LED nirvana.

He showed me his four-foot-high display case with a motion sensor display screen built into the top, at eye level, to promote all the wireless toys. “Owners want this all-in-one setup for their stores. It’s at a good deal and provides a range of different LED toys ready to stand in the store. Easy,” he said.

“Our biggest sellers are the Lite Blox toy, the Build your own Radio, and the kids’ favorite Burp ’n Fart toy.” 

“Toys-R-Us is gone,” he said, “the hardware store is also the toy store, and these owners know it.”

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