These days, it seems like independent hardware retailers are disappearing from the business landscape at a rapid rate and are being replaced by the big chain hardware stores.
These chain stores do have the advantage of far greater resources to invest in their businesses, and that's a big reason why they have begun to dominate the business scene.
However, the independent retailers have not entirely disappeared, and there are still some significant benefits to be gained by patronizing them rather than one of the big boys.
Excellent customer service
Customer service is something that often separates a decent store from a great store, and it can certainly make a retailer stand out from the pack. When people get excellent customer service, it makes them inclined to return to that same store, so they can again experience that kind of service.
You can tell when a salesperson is just going through the motions, and when they are legitimately trying to help you and make your shopping experience the best it can be. Independent hardware retailers realize that great service is something they must provide, so it can help them compete with the bigger chain stores.
Not everyone who walks into a hardware store is an accomplished do-it-yourselfer, with extensive knowledge of all household tools and products.
For someone who really needs advice on which tools or products to buy, and how to use them properly, it can be a godsend to receive some friendly advice from a store owner or a representative.
An independent hardware retailer generally understands all this, because they're members of the community themselves, and they know that many patrons simply don't have the expertise or the knowledge necessary to carry out household projects.
Filling in the knowledge gaps is something that independents are especially good at, because they have the same hometown mindset that many of their patrons do.
Personal care is a quality that few of the big chain stores can provide, because they have to stay focused on the big picture of the retail business, and often lose sight of the smaller picture — which is the human side of things.
Providing personal care is something which comes naturally to independents because they know many of their store patrons and have taken the time to establish relationships with them. This kind of personal care makes a customer feel like they matter, and that they're not just a statistic in a company's purchasing data for the month.
There really is no substitute for friendly personal care, and it must be genuine, or customers will know it and avoid it.
Quality products and affordable prices
Of course, for any hardware retailer to be successful, they have to offer high-quality merchandise and affordable prices, or else patrons will simply go somewhere else with their business. Independents must provide this kind of quality to their customers because they live with these same people and don't want to be selling inferior goods to everyday customers.
Selling low-quality merchandise would be the death knell for any independent retailer because customers would quickly spread the word, and business would dry up fast. Selling quality goods at prices customers can afford is the best way for an independent hardware retailer to gain favor with the local citizenry, and to maintain a solid business in the community.
One independent hardware retailer
If you've been a little put off by the big-company attitudes of a chain hardware store, you'll find it very refreshing to visit Hometown Hardware, with storefronts in Waynesville and Canton.
The owner is on site practically every day, because he cares about his customers, and is always happy to get to know a new customer. You just won't find this kind of friendly attitude, coupled with great products and great prices anywhere else.
Contact us at Hometown Hardware, and enjoy the feeling that you're back home again, no matter where you happen to live in the country.