Even amid a national and international pandemic, House-Hasson Hardware in 2020 equaled its 2019 number of store-set projects, through which House-Hasson designed, stocked and promoted new or expanded stores for independent hardware and lumberyard dealers, exceeding by more than $1 million 2019’s revenue for store sets.
So far in 2021, House-Hasson has completed 18 store-set projects, a company record for the first four months of a year.
In 2020, House-Hasson, America’s largest independent regional hardware distributor, completed 29 store-set projects in 11 states and one on the island of St. Kitts, in the Caribbean Basin.
Store-set momentum has grown as independent hardware stores and lumberyards moved into 2021, said Steve Henry, House-Hasson president.
“The hardware and lumberyard business has expanded so significantly during the past 12 months, and demand isn’t slackening,” Henry said. “This applies as well to new, remodeled or expanded hardware stores and lumberyard dealer operations. Store sets used to be something we had to promote; now, dealers wanting store sets are knocking on our doors daily, as well as people wanting to get into the hardware or lumber business.
“Our store-set results speak to the strength of the independent hardware store and lumberyard industries,” Henry added. “The pandemic in some cases has created unusual situations, but our team has done an excellent job meeting our dealers’ needs.”
Typically, store-set projects are conducted by House-Hasson teams. However, the pandemic caused the entire St. Kitt’s project to be carried out long distance, said John Sullivan, House-Hasson’s vice president of retail development.
“A dealer in St. Kitts, in the Caribbean Basin, was doing a new store, but because of the pandemic we couldn’t go to the island,” Sullivan said. “He e-mailed me his store size and design, and we produced renderings of his entire layout and merchandising, down to what items would go on what hooks on what shelves.
“For added visuals, we went back to a store we’d just completed and took several hundred photos of how assortments were arranged and placed,” Sullivan added. “He ordered all his merchandise and store components, and the store is up and running.”
Eighteen of the 29 projects in 2020 were new stores, Sullivan said. Many were dealers opening a second store.
House-Hasson store-set programs include demographic studies to determine sales potential. This is followed by discussions with dealers on such subjects as merchandising, fixtures, signage, point-of-sale systems, advertising and all other issues and details necessary to open a new store.
Store-set projects were up to 10,000 square feet, with contracts ranging from $50,000 to $700,000, depending on the project’s size and scope. “We don’t expect to see a store-set slowdown; in fact, we’re anticipating just the opposite,” Henry said. “Our goal is dealer profitability, and store sets are helping us accomplish that goal for dealers.”