The Key to Retail Success

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The neighborhood “variety store” was the cornerstone of communities in the 1960s and ‘70s. Every customer was respected, valued, and treated with care. The store carried everything for the home. And, if what you needed wasn’t in stock, the manager would order it for you.

Fast forward 40+ years.

Louis Bastone just took over and remodeled Chappaqua Paint and Hardware at 59 South Greeley Avenue. The store carries everything from toilet plungers to paint to nuts and bolts; all of the hardware “basics.” Bastone himself works in the store and his staff of three is trained to order anything a customer needs and cannot find. Each customer is greeted with a smile…a time warp moment for sure.

Everyone needs to be able to unlock his or her door.  So, it stands to reason that keys are a big seller at the store.  But, because we all like our stuff personalized, consumers can get a key with a leopard print or Tinkerbell printed on it.  A vast array of colorful key rings sits on the counter.  Winter products have been selling this season too – no big shock there!  Snow and fun are both timeless.  A display of sleds is out stands out front.  They range from plastic trays to 56” inflatable saucers. The old wooden “Rosebud” type sled is long gone.

As much as the world and technology have evolved, hardware store basics have remained largely the same.  Consumers still have homes.  They want and need to keep their homes safe and cozy, and the local hardware store helps them do that…especially stores where the management really cares and adopts an old-fashioned approach to service.

So you CAN always come home again after a refreshing zip down the hill…except now your key is customized and your key ring has a flash drive attached.  (Oh yes, and the National Retail Hardware Association says the industry is now embracing Twitter).

Is there something you miss?  A change you’ve been ruminating about?  Contact me at nancys@theonswitch.com (or mail me a letter).  I’ll happily entertain ideas for future columns!

Nancy A. Shenker has lived in Westchester for 22 years (40% of her life).  Her business, theONswitch marketing, located in Yonkers, specializes in combining traditional time-tested marketing strategies with new media (including social media). She works with businesses nationally (and, thanks to technology, can sometimes even work in her pajamas).  She is also the CEO of a new publishing venture, nunumedia and just launched a series of business comic books.

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