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Designed to make a difference

These four Do it Best stores embraced the power of differentiation by design.

BY Ken Clark

Customers are changing, competition is growing. That’s the situation facing retailers across the country. More than ever, the need to differentiate is paramount.

Here are four cases in point. These very different stores share some common attributes, including an understanding of their markets, and assistance from Do it Best’s Signature Store Design team.

• Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply

Wood Shed, in Carrollton, Mo.

Owners Sharona and Cecil Eiserer bought a 60-year-old business in Carrollton, Mo., in June of 2016. Sharona described the previous business as a “typical lumber and hardware store.” The new-to-the industry owners knew they had to do something if it the venture were to thrive. First step was research. “We learned a lot,” she said. “No one before had realized that we had so many female shoppers of all ages as a potential customer base.”  And another thing: “We didn’t want our building to look like everybody else’s,” she said.

In January, they unveiled the new 22,000 sq. ft. store — Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply. An impressive cedar porch greets incoming shoppers. And once inside, a steel roof salvaged from the original building maintains the store’s architectural tradition.

Cecil is a builder by trade who turned his talents to unique details, including the  reclaimed wood accents. “Customers love it,” Sharona said. “It’s fresh. It’s inviting. It’s way more than they were expecting. We hear comments all the time like: ‘This is something you see in the city, not in Carrollton.’”

• M&M Building Supply

When husband-and-wife store owners Sterling Hudgins and Kathryn Tatterson transformed an old grocery store into their 11,000 sq. ft. fully-loaded home center here in coastal Virginia, they wanted the design to reflect the store’s community ties. That explains the unique, nautical-themed custom-made front counter with a salvaged mast and a replica stern of “Miss Mathews.”

M&M Building Supply, Mathews, Va.

“It’s just part of the local culture that we wanted to bring into the store,” said M & M Building Supply’s Morgan Hudgins, daughter of the owners. “It looks like your typical work boat here, and both my dad and grandfather grew up fishing.”

The Mathews, Va., store, the third for the Hudgins family, celebrated a grand opening May 4.

Sterling built the Miss Mathews counter from scratch and a salvaged mast. Meanwhile, Do it Best’s store designers and retail performance team provided ideas to incorporate new floors, lighting and fixtures. Customers love it, says Morgan. “Plus they’re thankful for the product selection that allows them to shop for their home without leaving town.”

• Mountain View Home & Hardware

Mountain View Home & Hardware, King, N.C.

The opening of Mountain View Home & Hardware here in King, N.C., in November 2018 marked a major departure for owners Scott and Tammy Moore. Their Virginia business, Patrick Building Supply, catered to pros. The pair knew their new location called for something very different, and research identified the specific targets — women, millennials, seniors and affluent shoppers.

With help from the Signature Store Design team at Do it Best, Mountain View executed a comprehensive retail center with a large outdoor living department and a home impressions area that attracts the female shopper.

“It has your basic hardware, and then it also has a huge outdoor living and gift area,” said Scott Moore. “We get comments that are just about all positive. The cleanliness, the layout and the location. It’s all-around positive. I think it’s pretty sharp, too.”

Landrum Hardware

Customers universally loved the vintage, squeaky-wooden-floor, downtown Landrum, S.C., store that Shawn Evans acquired in late 2013. But there was a problem. The 3,000 sq. ft. store couldn’t keep up with the business, and neither could the two-and-half, semi-legal parking spaces.

After engaging the Do it Best Signature Store Design team, Evans decided to relocate a mile down the road in Landrum and build from the ground up. That’s where Landrum Hardware opened in October of 2018.

Landrum (S.C.) Hardware now has plenty of parking.

“Since about three hours after we hung the banner saying we moved, we have been extremely busy,” Evans said. A 37 car parking lot doesn’t hurt.

And while modern has replaced vintage all across the store, Evans installed an intentionally squeaky wooden floor up to and around the customer service desk. And it’s been working.

“For all the nostalgia for the old store, the support here has been tremendous,” he said. “They appreciate the inventory, the accessibility and just getting in the door. It feels really good to bring that to the community.”

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