Retail Ideas

  • Akard Hardware Goes Back to the Bricks

    Steve and Leigh Ann Akard are celebrating the 65th anniversary of Akard True Value Hardware by opening a pop-up shop in their former location on Zionsville’s Brick Street.
    Steve and Leigh Ann Akard are celebrating the 65th anniversary of Akard True Value Hardware by opening a pop-up shop in their former location on Zionsville’s Brick Street.»

    Leigh Ann Akard opened up a pop-up shop in early May that is a return to roots for her business, Akard True Value Hardware in Zionsville, Ind.

    Leigh Ann’s grandfather, JJ Akard, bought Zionsville Hardware in 1955, which was then located on the Brick Street, as Zionsville’s Main Street is affectionately called due to its brick pavement. He sold toys, gifts and hardware to a town that had a population of 1,822 in 1960. Today, Zionsville’s population is about 30,000.

    Her father, Steve, purchased the business in the late 1970s and then moved it one mile away to a 25,000-square-foot space in the Boone Village Shopping Center.

    Everything from grill accessories and home decor to kitchen gadgets and signs is on display.
    Everything from grill accessories and home decor to kitchen gadgets and signs is on display.»

    With the business celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, a fortuitous event happened. The store’s original space on the Brick Street became available, so Leigh Ann decided it made sense to open up a pop-up shop there as a salute to her family’s legacy.

    She teased the opening with a Facebook post showing the storefront door and the messages “History can sometimes repeat itself” and “What business in Zionsville is celebrating 65 years this year by opening up a ‘pop up’ shop in their original location?” People were encouraged to find the new Facebook page (Back to the Bricks-Akard Village Hardware) and like, follow and share the page for a chance to win a $65 gift card to either location.

    At the checkout counter is an antique cash register from an old True Value store that an employee had in storage.
    At the checkout counter is an antique cash register from an old True Value store that an employee had in storage.»

    Leigh Ann took over the space in March, but then her plans to open in April got stalled by the pandemic. “We’ve been so busy at the main store that it was tough to find time to work on the new store,” she says. A soft opening in early May will be followed by a grand opening and anniversary celebration when it is safe and appropriate for bigger crowds to gather, she adds.

    Seeing a store reopen in the old space brings back memories for Steve, who says he thinks it’s neat to attract a new generation of shoppers Back to the Bricks.

    The pop-up shop is designed to complement the main store, offering grill accessories, hanging flower baskets, home decor, signs, and kitchen, gift and faith-based items.

    “I’ve got a one-year lease, so we’ll see what happens with this pop-up store,” Leigh Ann says. “We view it as just another way to serve the community that has been so good to our family for 65 years.”

    Back to the Bricks-Akard Village Hardware has opened where the family business got its start in 1955.
    Back to the Bricks-Akard Village Hardware has opened where the family business got its start in 1955.»

    Subscribe for Free

    The Hardware Connection is a digital magazine targeted to independent hardware/home improvement retailers. It is the only industry magazine designed and distributed solely in electronic format and currently reaches over 60,000 people in the two-step channel.

    The Hardware Connection publishes four Newsletters each year in addition to eight magazine issues.

    To sign up yourself or additional staff to a free subscription to receive The Hardware Connection magazine and newsletter in electronic format, please click here.

  • Something is Cooking at Revell Ace Hardware

    Handmade soy candles are among the Mississippi-made items on display.
    Handmade soy candles are among the Mississippi-made items on display.»

    The Rooks family is marking the 70th anniversary of Revell Ace Hardware, which dates back to 1950. With six locations in Mississippi, Revell Ace Hardware’s newest store in Jackson incorporates a Revell @ Home Department that rivals Williams Sonoma for selection.

    Actually, it’s not all that surprising when you learn Lisa Rooks used to work at Williams Sonoma. “I’m a basic Southern cook, and we opened with what we thought were the best sellers at Williams Sonoma,” she says.

    It’s all kitchen-related products, not floral or picture frames. “I wanted to stay focused on the kitchen, cooking and food items, because I feel like most of our customers are women and they are the target audience, even though some men like to cook,” Rooks says.

    Cookbooks are a top-selling item in Revell @ Home.
    Cookbooks are a top-selling item in Revell @ Home.»
     Lisa Rooks has turned her love of cooking into a specialty kitchen shop, where she hosts weekly cooking demonstrations.
    Lisa Rooks has turned her love of cooking into a specialty kitchen shop, where she hosts weekly cooking demonstrations.»

    They carry KitchenAid mixers, All-Clad cookware, Cuisinart food processors, Breville coffee makers, Caspari paper products, Messermeister cutlery, Mason Cash mixing bowls, Mosser Glass glassware, Farmhouse Pottery, Lodge cast-iron cookware and Vitamix blenders. Revell @ Home also sells cookbooks, handmade soy candles, premium coffee, specialty gourmet foods and Mississippi-made items like handmade soy candles.

    Specialty gourmet foods are developing a loyal customer base at Revell Ace’s newest store in Jackson, Miss.
    Specialty gourmet foods are developing a loyal customer base at Revell Ace’s newest store in Jackson, Miss.»

    The store offers a gift-wrapping service to go with His & Her Wedding Registry.

    They offer free cooking demonstrations every Saturday.

    “We’ll post on Facebook what we’re doing and might get up to 15 people. We feature a product we sell, do a recipe out of a cookbook or demo knife skills. It might be soup in the Vitamix or a pizza on the Big Green Egg. A lot of people just gather once we get started,” Rooks says.

    She adds, “We have a working kitchen and two tables that look ready for dinner with place settings and center pieces. That shows our customers how to arrange a table and hopefully sparks ideas. We’re trying to show the softer side of hardware.”

    The His & Her Wedding Registry is enhanced with a gift-wrapping service.
    The His & Her Wedding Registry is enhanced with a gift-wrapping service.»

    These Stores are One-Stop Shops No Matter the Occasion

    Pittsville Farm & Home Center in Pittsville, Wis., also includes The Flower Shop, which offers fresh flowers for weddings, funerals and other occasions; fruit and gift baskets; house plants; balloon bouquets and stuffed animals; artificial flowers; greeting cards; scented candles; baby gifts and candy/chocolate.
    Pittsville Farm & Home Center in Pittsville, Wis., also includes The Flower Shop, which offers fresh flowers for weddings, funerals and other occasions; fruit and gift baskets; house plants; balloon bouquets and stuffed animals; artificial flowers; greeting cards; scented candles; baby gifts and candy/chocolate.»
    The Home Gallery has been part of Forsyth Hardware & Home Center in Forsyth, Mont., since 2013. The three-story historic building includes everything from appliances, mattresses and flooring to quality furniture, kitchen gifts and home decor accessories.
    The Home Gallery has been part of Forsyth Hardware & Home Center in Forsyth, Mont., since 2013. The three-story historic building includes everything from appliances, mattresses and flooring to quality furniture, kitchen gifts and home decor accessories.»
  • 10 Trajectories that Will Transform Retail

    Carol Spieckerman
    Carol Spieckerman»

    Carol Spieckerman, a global expert on retail trajectories and transmedia brand platforms, gave a presentation at Do it Best’s Fall Market in October. What follows are 10 trajectories she predicts will transform retail.

    1. Kill With Convenience—Convenience has emerged as a top consumer decision-driver, one that often surpasses price. Deliver DIY convenience through text notifications, in-store kiosks, same-day delivery, pick-up spaces and easy access to frequently purchased items.
    2. Go Mad for Multi-Tasking—The days of tweaking are over. You have options to explore and permission to make it your own. Gather data, scrap what doesn’t work, scale what does. Stores are your multi-testing playgrounds.
    3. Prosperity Through Proximity—Having a competitor land in your backyard can be a gift if you play it right. Drive differentiation with proprietary and private brands. Shift the focus from fast to frequent. Category picks can drive the trips and sales for high-ticket items.
    4. The Store is Still the Core—The rumors of the death of brick and mortar have been greatly exaggerated. Digital didn’t take over the world. Stores aren’t dead, just different. Bring new tricks to your bricks. New generations of shoppers love shopping in stores.
    5. Crush it on Content—The merging of content, products and services is retail’s new frontier—content is your weapon of mass engagement. Make your content shareable and connectable to pump up the path to engagement. User-generated content is the gold standard—51 percent of consumers trust it more than national advertising.
    6. Let Your Flagship Fly—Small formats are all the rage, but flagships are also flying. Create a killer combo with experimentation, newness and localization.
    7. High Touch (Not Just High-Tech)—High touch comes to life in stores. No wonder digital natives are coming down to earth. Hit the differentiation sweet spot with data plus high touch. Share your data with associates and let them tackle your knottiest goals.
    8. Embrace the Aliens—New faces are coming from strange places. Retail will never look the same, and that’s a good thing. Build bridges to new customers through diversity. Make hiring practices a retail hack.
    9. Digital Drives Discovery—Digital isn’t just for e-commerce—it’s critical to store success. Combine bricks and clicks to amp up awareness. Don’t sell search short.
    10. Rise of the RTR (Retailer to Retailer)—Retailer-to-retailer deals (RTRs) have the potential to become a far greater menace than direct-to-retail brand deals, as retailers become more determined to see their private brands proliferate and their owned brand investments pay off. Forge platform partnerships to accelerate customer acquisition.

    For more information on Spieckerman’s retail insights, click here.

  • Riding Forward with E-Bikes

    Q.P. Ace Hardware in Lincoln, Neb., has started selling electric bicycles.
    Q.P. Ace Hardware in Lincoln, Neb., has started selling electric bicycles.»

    Riding Forward with E-Bikes

    Doug Long, owner of Q.P. Ace Hardware in Lincoln, Neb., discovered a unique niche while vacationing in Europe last year. After getting a chance to try out an electric bicycle, he liked it so much he decided his customers back home might enjoy the experience as well.

    He started small, selling e-bikes in just one of his stores, before expanding to all four of his Ace stores. The next step was to open a standalone e-bike shop, Speedy Pete’s, to promote and grow the healthy lifestyle exhibited by an e-bike community.

    To read more, click here.

  • Bridging the Gap Between Hardware and Pinterest

    Nailed It Hardware holds regular workshops to build a connection with customers who are looking to be inspired through craft projects.
    Nailed It Hardware holds regular workshops to build a connection with customers who are looking to be inspired through craft projects.»

    When Corrine Courtney opened Nailed It Hardware in Washingtonville, N.Y., in November 2015, she envisioned a store that bridges the gap between hardware and Pinterest.

    Nailed it Hardware holds regular workshops on craft, decor, home projects such as bottle etching, window gardens and repurposed old windows painted and divided in half with cage and chalkboard. Workshop fees range from free to $75.

    “We use the tools and techniques of good design to create an inviting and informative experience,” says Courtney. “The goal has always been to be a resource. We have many types of clients with all different needs. We support the decisions and bring you the process to achieve it.”

    She adds, “Hardware store means so much more here. I like to say hardware to house’wear.’ We have an entire section of the store dedicated to workshops. This is where we do the project with you. It generally produces a craft to be used or shared in your home.”

    Courtney says some of their most popular workshops are pallet signs, copper candelabras, farm table trays, wine racks and screwy pumpkins. “Paint is transformative. We help you personalize your space personally, and our team dedicates itself to helping you figure that out.”

Back to top button
Close