Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The Hawaiian Aisles

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Jan. 26, 1998 issue of National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, featured a story on the culture and leadership of Hardware Hawaii. The headline reads: “Hardware Hawaii makes customer service fun.”

On assignment in Kailua, National Home Center News editor Carol Tice described the kind of cheerful approach to home improvement: “The tool aisle is labeled ‘Toy Department.’ The locks are merchandised under ‘Jailhouse Blues.’ It’s ‘Screws R Us’ for the fastener aisle, ‘What’s Cooking’ for housewares, and ‘Best Seat in the House’ for toilets.”

But one thing the two-store hardware retailer takes seriously, the article reported in 1998, was its customer service. Outside of the store — the 1997 Oahu County Retailer of the Year” — a sign proclaims: “Customer First” with three exclamation points. The sign and the store encourage feedback, comments and ideas, the article reported.

“We just keep hammering away at the topic in a variety of different ways,” said David Lundquist, son of founder Dana Lundquist.

According to the article, employees were reminded of the importance of customer service in letters from the founder in each of their pay envelopes. One of the letters, described as typical, reads in part:

“Any salesperson who walks down the middle of the aisle without looking both ways for customers in the cross aisles has not fully established the ‘priority; of his or her job.

Any cashier who doesn’t greet and make eye contact with every customer entering the checkout area, and than them graciously with eye contact as they leave, and offer carry-out assistant to customers with large purchases, has not established the ‘priority’ of his or her job.”

Likewise, the store managers who do not spend at least 75% of their time o the sales floor have not established the ‘priority’ of their jobs.”

The store continues its strong customer and community service. It was recognized in 2012 as an HBSDealer Hardware Store All-Star.

HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact


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