Carpet Depot Adds Hardware to Mix with Furniture

When Denny and Kay Burket were considering adding hardware products to their carpet and furniture store, Carpet & Furniture Depot in Claysburg, Pa., they contacted the right company.

As Kay explains, “We filled out an online questionnaire from House-Hasson and within 45 minutes we had David Helfenberger call us. Then 45 minutes after that he had Dave Baumberger call us to explain what House-Hasson could do for us.”

Soon after they were turned over to Dave Gummo, who is now taking care of their needs as territory manager. “We had made inquiries with another wholesaler, but they never got back to us,” Kay points out.

The Burkets started in business in 1983 with just flooring, adding furniture to the mix in the mid-1990s. The store used to be located in the old part of town, but they moved to a new 15,000-square-foot location about a decade ago. Their son, Chris, also works part-time in the store.

“We thought about adding hardware for a year,” says Denny. “I was tired of running into town to pick up products for my 19 rental properties.”

They first made contact with House-Hasson this past September, and they ended up attending the Fall Dealer Market in Chattanooga three weeks later. “By that time we were pretty sure this is what we wanted to do,” Kay says.

At the show they picked the paint brand and bought a few items like water heaters. “House-Hasson set us up with an opening order,” says Denny, who adds they are planning to do more buying at the June show.

Around Thanksgiving House-Hasson sent in a set-up crew and they got to work creating a 4,300-square-foot hardware store in the back of the furniture store. The hardware section leads into a back warehouse space and then up to a mezzanine level.

“I had dealt mainly with plumbing and electrical products for the apartments, and initially we were just going to add those categories,” Denny explains. “But David Helfenberger talked us into the benefits of becoming a full-blown hardware store. They offered us a nice deal if we added at least 4,000 square feet of hardware products, so that’s what we did.”

The store set-up was completed in mid-January, although they were selling some items around Christmas. They started advertising in February, promoting both the hardware and furniture areas through radio and TV. “Furniture sales have picked up since we added the hardware,” Kay points out. A grand opening is planned for mid-May, with Kim Gibbs helping them design an ad to run in the local newspaper.

Plumbing was a big seller for the winter selling season due to the harsh weather, and now paint sales are starting to pick up. “We’re selling products we never thought would sell like galvanized buckets,” Denny notes.

Overall they are very pleased with the service they get from House-Hasson. “Everyone from House-Hasson has been great to work with,” says Kay. “They are very prompt to respond to people. Our truck driver is terrific and our sales rep, Dave Gummo, is in here every week and is only a phone call away.”

Kay says it has been gratifying how many people have thanked them for adding the hardware items, saving folks the trouble of running into town for a few small items. “Even the Dollar General store sends customers to us,” she adds.

Kay notes that paint is a natural product to add with the flooring they sell, because people will come in to buy flooring with paint chips in their hand.

They cannot target contractors yet, because they don’t have the space to meet their product needs. “We’re out of space for the moment, but we bought three tractor trailers and have two storage buildings in the back and will probably add lumber and pipe,” Denny says.

They check their profit margins while setting prices and adjust as necessary, but are generally relying on House-Hasson’s suggested prices. They are 20 minutes from the nearest big box in Altoona. “It’s easy to check big-box prices online so we can keep our prices within reason,” Kay says.

They eventually plan to redo the store website, so they can promote the hardware side more. They also have a store Facebook page. Denny finds himself navigating through the Etoolbox a lot, writing down products to order later. “Online selling is a possibility down the road, but we have to get comfortable with the hardware business first,” he says.