Rogersville Hardware Able to Better Serve Customers with Bigger Store


          It’s the middle of the day at Rogersville Hardware in Rogersville, Ala., and a steady stream of customers keeps walking in the door. Everyone is looking for products and solutions, and they’ve come to the right place.

One customer is looking for just the right type of fastener for his DIY problem, so co-owner Danny McDonald springs into action to help. His dad, Joe McDonald, is busy helping a woman who says she needs a string trimmer that will “last a lot longer than a Walmart special,” in her words.

Some of the transactions are small, while others such as the string trimmer are big-ticket sales. Regardless of the size of their purchase, each customer gets a lengthy consultation with a patient and knowledgeable product expert who makes sure every question is answered. Customers end up leaving satisfied and relieved that they found what they needed to solve their problem.

“We’re pretty hands-on with customers because that’s why they come to us,” says Danny. “We don’t want them going anyplace else.”

If you were to observe the McDonalds in action you would guess that they are long-time hardware retailers, but that’s not the case. Danny had been a home builder—hence the familiarity with hardware products—but he didn’t see the construction market turning around anytime soon. When Joe learned about a hardware store for sale in Rogersville he convinced his son it was the right opportunity for them to pursue. They purchased the business two and a half years ago.

If they had any concerns over taking the plunge into retail, they were soon erased by their faith in their supplier. “House-Hasson has been a big help to us,” says Danny. “They helped us restock initially and worked with us to spread out our payments. They’ve been easy to work with.”

Despite the down economy the business started out strong, which created a new problem—the store’s 4,500-square-foot salesfloor didn’t give them enough space to stock what their customers needed. With their lease expiring last year a solution presented itself—a bigger location with one-third more space was available literally across the street.

They started moving products at the end of November, with House-Hasson finding shelves they could use from Moore-Handley stores. Rick Parker came up with a detailed store plan that outlined all the new assortments and House-Hasson personnel took charge of the resets. “It only took about three weeks to get moved and everything went pretty smoothly,” Joe says.

The additional space has enabled them to beef up their selection of core categories as well as devote considerable space to a new niche in outdoor power equipment. The new location features two garage bays with enough space to accommodate a blossoming small engine and outdoor power equipment repair service. “Outdoor power equipment has really turned into a big draw for us,” says Danny, who estimates it accounts for about 30 percent of total sales.

Although they only moved across the street, he says they continue to attract new customers as word spreads of what Rogersville Hardware has to offer. “We’re very fortunate in that sales are up this year. People are willing to pay for good service,” Danny says.

The business gets about 80 percent of its sales from homeowners, which helps offset the fact fewer contractors are coming in due to the economy and slow construction market.

Dan tries to attend at least two House-Hasson dealer markets each year to stay on top of product trends. “It’s interesting to see the new items and the specials have been pretty good,” he says, adding that their sales rep, Anthony Grizzard, takes good care of them.

“House-Hasson has been good to us, and we feel like they care about our business,” he adds. “Whenever we have a question they’re on top of it.”

Just like they are on top of it at Rogersville Hardware. The phone is ringing and Danny is busy helping a lady pick out the right replacement spool for her spring trimmer. Meanwhile, another woman has walked in with her young daughter and wandered over to the paint section, a strong statement about the store’s ability to attract female customers. There’s no such thing as a typical day in the hardware business, as the McDonalds have quickly realized.