A New Look

House-Hasson’s great pricing has made a real difference. It’s boosted my margins and my walk-in trade has been better since the remodel. Customers can tell the difference.

Jefferson Barns & Lumber Completely Revamps Store

Tony Donahue knew he needed to do something to spruce up his store, but he didn’t even know where to start. He had always operated with the understanding that he knew where to find everything in his disorganized store, and it didn’t matter if his customers couldn’t find products because that’s where his helpful service came in.

Donahue, who owns Jefferson Barns & Lumber in Sumter, S.C., sees his retail business in a new light now, after some persuasive advice from House Hasson Wholesale Hardware representatives. His store recently underwent a complete remodel and remerchandising, which has dramatically improved the store’s look while making it more appealing to pro and homeowner customers.

House Hasson Wholesale Hardware handled every aspect of the reset, coming up with a detailed assortment plan that had a place for everything and everything in its place. A 5,000-square-foot salesfloor that had once been home to controlled chaos is now organized neatly by product category.

“Our store now has a constant theme throughout: We are here to better serve you, our customers. Departments are distinguished, categories are merchandised together and we are better priced than ever before,” Donahue says.

As his House Hasson Wholesale Hardware sales rep, Bill Barnette, explains, “Tony had been doing business with Monroe Hardware for over 20 years. As the demographics of Sumter changed, Jefferson Barns had to change to meet the demands of its contractors and regular customers. With several lumber, building material and hardware retailers closing, the demand grew. Tony knew he needed professional help to position his store for the anticipated growth.”

J. Aldridge had started calling on the store when he was with Monroe Hardware, and he carried over that relationship when he joined House Hasson Wholesale Hardware. “He got me converted,” Donahue explains. “Now whatever House-Hasson says, I do. They have helped turn my company around to be the best retailer in the area.”

Barnette got House Hasson Wholesale Hardware’s marketing and store planning team involved, and shortly after the store layout was finalized House Hasson Wholesale Hardware’s store set-up crew arrived. “They stayed for six weeks and did an amazing job,” Donahue says. “I’m very pleased with the work they did.”

The floors were redone and spiffed up, the three-acre yard was cleaned up and a paint room was created. “We’ve started to build up our paint business since we added Valspar paint,” Donahue points out.

Since then Barnette has been working with the retailer on gross margins, pricing levels and endcap promotions to help better market the store’s new offerings. “I get great service from Bill. He gives me lots of useful advice,” Donahue says.

The slow economy had caused several other local home improvement retailers to shut down, so Donahue took advantage and hired key salespeople such as Steve Watts. “He’s brought in big contractors and helped us triple our business.”

Helping out was the fact an army base was relocated to Sumter, which has made a big difference in the economy and housing market. “Houses are selling good. We’ve been lucky here and our business has been great,” says Donahue, who adds that sales are split evenly between hardware and LBM products.

He has been in business since the age of 19 in 1982, starting out with storage barns and then gradually expanding first into lumber and then finally hardware. As the name implies, Jefferson Barns still manufactures storage barns to specification, and the company also sells a selection of carpet, flooring and paneling. It employs 12 full-time and three part-time employees.

Donahue’s daughter, Crystal, works the salesfloor, while another daughter, Amanda Lewis, handles the bookkeeping and back-office tasks. His girlfriend, Amy Quick, also works the salesfloor, which is seeing more homeowner and contractor customers these days.

“House-Hasson’s great pricing has made a real difference. It’s boosted my margins and my walk-in trade has been better since the remodel. Customers can tell the difference,” Donahue says.

House-Hasson’s next dealer market is scheduled for January 5-7 at the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, Tenn.

In its 105th year of operation, House-Hasson Wholesale Hardware serves 17 states, the Caribbean basin, and several other foreign countries. The company is approaching $200 million in annual sales.

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