Anatomy of a Modern Hardware Store: Part One of Two Parts

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Bob Bridgers latest “hardware”story is a great starting point for creating a checklist of all the points you need to know to run a business and take care of business.
Industries vary as to the level of difficulty associated with entering them. In economics this reality is known as ease of entry. To establish a small hardware store it requires a large capital investment, (appx $350.000),with a line of credit for working capital, some experience and knowledge of the various product lines, an excellent location with about 3000sq ft, relationships with various suppliers, the ability to work long hours and most importantly the patience of Job.
These characteristic makes the opening of a hardware store extremely difficult resulting in the diminishing number that replaces existing stores as they cease to operate.
The modern hardware store is truly a marvel in the diversity of the product lines, the constant innovation and new products introduced, the depth of the information available, the alternate items and myriad solutions for various projects, to respond to the rise of the DIY (do it yourself) segment of the market. Every year hundreds of new products are introduced at trade shows all over the globe in the eternal search for the “better mousetrap”.
Arguably,  the most significant of these categories is the paint department and the accompanying sundries which involved all items associated with completing a paint project. Though very little profit is derived from the sale of paint it is the items associated with the preparation, application and clean up, that hardware stores derive most of their margins. a quality line of paint is essential and the ability to provide custom colors is essential to compete with the “big box” retailers.
Keys and locks are staples in any metropolitan hardware stores due to the persistent crime rates, especially burglary. The ability to duplicate house keys, mailbox keys, car and padlock keys is an indispensable characteristic of a hardware store. This is supplemented by a basic understanding of the  installation and operation of locks and other security devices.
The next fundamental product category is hardware, a product line far too numerous to address here. From hammers (striking tools) to tape measures, to pliers, hand saws and wrenches, the necessary tools to construct something or to tear it down all encompass this broad area. A basic understanding and familiarity with this line is an ongoing process to be effective in the marketplace and provide your customers with the appropriate tools for their projects. Hardware is our raison d’être. (To be continued next week.)