Todd and Ritsa Kirschner
Trio Hardware | Plainview, N.Y.
Todd and Ritsa Kirschner were operating a very successful but small store in Plainview, N.Y. With just a 3,100-square-foot sales floor, Trio Hardware was honored with the Indie Award as “America’s Best Independent Business” from Independent We Stand in 2013. However, the Kirschners knew they needed a larger store to continue growing the business, so with the help of the Do it Best Signature™ Store Design team, they moved to a new, larger store in April 2018.
Todd had started with the business while in high school in 1990, helping Owners Bruce and Francesca Carlow recover from a devastating fire in 1996. At Trio Hardware, Todd would meet his future wife Ritsa, another long-time employee—the couple were married in 2004. In 2012, the Kirschners began a five-year succession plan to become full owners of the business.
Year Founded: 1963
Wholesaler: Do it Best Corp.
Square footage: 6,000 square feet
Top categories: Lawn and garden/outdoor living, electrical, paint sundries.
Best niches: Screen/glass repair, push to start key fobs, remote battery replacement.
# employees: Currently 14 employees.
How did you utilize the extra space with the new store? We expanded all our departments, added on-site laser engraving and Milwaukee power tools. Customer feedback from the Do it Best customer survey was extremely beneficial in keeping us from making big mistakes on new departments and offerings.
What was the impetus for moving to a new, larger store in 2018? Was financing difficult?
The town traffic patterns were changing and a new development that incorporated homes and a strip mall was in the making. The developer came to us and offered us the opportunity to grow and stay within our community. With the Do it Best Retail Start program, financing this major undertaking was not a concern. Their strong support of their members is never a worry.
What role did Do it Best play in helping you with the new store and how integral have they been to your success over the years? A huge role! The “Dream Team” that Do it Best Corp. has is, by far, the most professional, educated and creative team in our industry. They have multiple different programs for all different types of projects. From the initial conversations, to market research, to merchandising, without the team and backing of everyone at Do it Best, we would never have been able to continually grow.
How gratifying was it to have so many customers help you move everything to the new store? Beyond gratifying and very humbling. We expected several dozen people to help us move over the weekend. The first day dozens ended up being hundreds. We had so many volunteers, we had them break down our old location as well.
How has business been since the move? This is interesting. Since the move, our average ticket has increased, although our customer counts had been declining. They had been declining over the past six years, but now over the past 18 months we have started to increase.