Eads Hardware Keeps Expanding and Growing the Business

 

When a retailer moves to a new location, they generally do it with the intention of attracting new customers and growing sales. That was certainly the plan for the Eads family, which moved Eads Hardware to a new location in Paris, Ky. four years ago.

Moving to a new building that was close to an industrial park and a main highway seemed like a good way to revitalize a 20-year-old business that was cramped for space and running out of ideas for growth.

David and Allyson Eads operate the business, with help from sons Todd and Matt. To say they are pleased with how things turned out is an understatement.

“For two years we had sales records every day, and we’re still on an uptick,” says Allyson. “We have quadrupled sales since we moved here.”

The rapid growth of the business has led them to expand twice, taking over first one and then a second parcel that had been set aside for other tenants. As Todd explains, “First, we opened up the wall and expanded more into paint while also expanding all the other departments. The paint business is a large part of our success. Then we opened up another wall to open a third area for lawn and garden and outdoor power equipment, bringing in Stihl two years ago.”

The store now has its own small engine mechanic as well as a guy who repairs windows, offering services that are not offered by other retailers. Another subtle change when they moved was to rename the business Eads Hardware. They were already well-known in the community, but now their store brand is more identified with the family.

Paris is known for its horse farms—Triple Crown winner Secretariat retired to a local horse farm and is buried there—and Eads Hardware sells a lot of paint and other supplies to the horse farms and factories in the area. “We’re lucky with the clientele we have,” says Todd. “But we’re also hands-on with customers to make sure we’re meeting their needs.”

Another key factor in the success of the business was the decision to partner with House-Hasson Hardware nine years ago. “We went shopping for a supplier,” says David, who admits they had mixed experiences with previous suppliers. “We liked the fact House-Hasson was a family-operated business, like us. They’re the best supplier we’ve ever had. They listen to you.”

Todd adds,“We have a great relationship with House-Hasson. They don’t say no very much. Our sales rep, Ray Langdon, comes in once a week. He’s been a big help to us.”

To Allyson, he’s become like family. “Ray goes above and beyond. He’s just as smart about retail as anyone and he’s full of helpful suggestions.”

The Eads all like the fact they can talk to Don Hasson or Taylor Hasson or anyone else in the company and always get a straight answer. “House-Hasson has a great customer service department—Joan and Jerry are terrific at answering questions,” says Todd.

All the family members say they like attending the dealer shows. “They’re a chance to get bargains and buy at a lower cost. We discover new products and talk to other dealers,” says Matt, who adds that House-Hasson does a good job with its seminars. “We’re able to find out something new about the Electronic Toolbox.”

Matt and Todd both say they would be lost without House-Hasson’s Electronic Toolbox. “I use it on an hourly basis. You can transmit orders and see what margins are out of sync to make sure you’re on the right page with prices against the big boxes,” says Matt. Todd likes how easy it is to find merchandise and review sales history.

They were early adopters of the Priced Right Everyday!® program and the signage can be found on every aisle of the store. “We are priced right, because we have to be competitive,” says Todd, which is especially important now that a new Tractor Supply store has opened nearby.

David and Allyson find it gratifying that their sons are active in the business, and between the four of them they ensure there’s almost always an Eads family member in the store. “You have to be prepared to work hard, because it’s a 24-7 business. But we’re still as passionate as we’ve ever been,” she says.

“We’re both individuals that have worked hard—we still work hard,” David adds. “It’s nice to see fresh ideas with the new generation.”

Allyson points out that the kids are more technology-driven, which is good for the business. While David admits it’s hard for an entrepreneur to let go of a business, he and his wife are committed to supporting their sons in where they want to take the business. “They’re two different personalities, but they work well together. They learn where to draw lines,” he says.

Todd is 35 and Matt is 31, so they’ve literally grown up in the business. Now Todd’s two sons, 10-year-old Lucas and 8-year-old Lakelen, are starting to hang around the store. “It will be rewarding to see the business continue,” says Allyson. “We’ve gained so much satisfaction from our customers and the community.”