Potter Plumbing & Hardware Undergoes Reset
to Improve Shopping Experience
Ron Potter wasn’t sure what to do; he just knew that something needed to be done. His business, Potter Plumbing & Hardware in Grayson, Ky., was at an important crossroads.
He had been buying from House-Hasson since he bought the business in 2007 from Rick Adams, who had operated it as Adams Hardware. “I had sold wholesale to plumbers my whole career, but combined that business with the hardware store when I took over. I gradually moved more into hardware and lumber over time, but the store needed a lot of work,” he says.
House-Hasson conducted an RPM study that outlined some of the changes that Potter needed to make to improve his product assortment and merchandising. The underlying consensus was that he needed to enhance the shopping experience for his customers to make his store their first choice for hardware products.
The building used to be set up to host a flea market, with different booths stationed around the floor. As Potter continued to expand more into hardware, there was not a clear organization to how products were displayed, which made it confusing for customers.
Adding urgency to the situation was the fact that two new hardware stores were scheduled to open soon in the area. “That was definitely a concern,” Potter admits.
With a blueprint for improvement in hand from the RPM study, Potter turned to House-Hasson to direct a complete reset of his store. Previously he just had basic paint, so a full line of Gray Seal paint was added. The lawn and garden department was greatly expanded. Assortments were strengthened in other core categories.
The salesfloor’s clutter was transformed into a well-organized layout that was more conducive to shopping. Endcaps were placed at the ends of aisles and stocked with top sellers and impulse items, topped by value-driven signage. Shelves were stocked full and fronted with merchandise that was right for the market. Departmental signs were installed throughout to help customers find what they were looking for. Dingy ceiling tiles were replaced and exposed HVAC ducts were covered up.
The store’s old dark lighting was replaced with bright lighting to provide a more appealing atmosphere. Aisles were cleared of clutter so that customers could roam freely with shopping carts.
To Potter, who was hospitalized with a medical condition as the reset project kicked into overdrive, the transformation was stunning. “I’m real happy with what they did to the store. Everybody that comes in comments on how nice it looks. They’re amazed,” he says.
He credits his House-Hasson sales rep, Glen Mullins, for seeing the project through.
“He pushed me to get this reset done and he’s been here constantly to make sure everything was getting done the right way.”
Such dedication does not surprise Potter, who has been buying from House-Hasson for as long as he has owned the business. “I’ve always been satisfied with House-Hasson. They treat me right and take care of any problem I have. I have complete faith in Glen.”
Although plumbing and lumber are his best-selling categories, Potter expects to sell a lot of paint now that he has added a full line of paint and accessories. “That business has been doing well so far, and it’s brought in some female customers,” he notes. The brighter lighting has also been a big hit with female shoppers.
House-Hasson helped Potter Plumbing & Hardware organize and host a grand reopening on April 1-2, which attracted a very good turnout. “We got a lot of comments about how nice the store looks now,” says Potter.
The nearest big boxes are 45 miles away, but that doesn’t mean Potter can get complacent about his pricing, particularly with new competition moving in. That is why he has adopted the Priced Right Everyday!® program and is paying more attention to his pricing. Placing promotional buys on endcaps also helps him project a low-price image.
He loves going to the House-Hasson markets, especially now that he has more inventory to keep stocked up on. “That’s the time to buy, because the deals are great. It makes a lot of sense to take advantage of the discounts on everyday items,” he says.
With the hard work behind him now, Potter has a new sense of confidence in his business. “We can do a better job of serving customers and I feel we’re better positioned to compete now,” he says.