Spring is the most important time of year for home improvement retailers, and independent hardware stores need to compete for consumer dollars by getting their store names in front of the local audience. Having a well-stocked store is one element in a successful spring campaign. Driving traffic into that store is another.
Howe’s True Value Hardware & Garden Center in Warren, Pa., draws people in through a couple of major spring events: a grilling day and an outdoor power equipment sale day. During the former event, which usually takes place out side the store shortly before Father’s Day, co-owner Luke Howe trots out his selection of Weber and Grill Zone grills, using one to cook up hot dogs and sausages for customers. Sometimes the grill is raffled off at the end of the event to create more interest.
“Food is always a driving factor for customer count,” Howe said. “When we have the food out, we see people we’ve never seen before, and a portion of those become repeat customers.”
For the “outdoor power equipment day,” which Howe’s has been doing for 20-plus years, the store gets its selection of Steele, Toro, Simplicity and Honda riding mowers gassed up and ready to try. They set up tents and canopies out front and give people a chance to test chainsaws and other heavy tools. And with True Value offering $500 in co-op money for spring events this year, Howe’s is ready to try yet another promotion: a “bucket” sale whereby people can fill up a bucket and receive 20 percent off the merchandise.
“These things get us a lot of exposure, and that increases foot traffic,” Howe added.
Germantown Hardware in Germantown, Tenn., an Orgill customer, jumpstarts its spring business each year with an anniversary sale, which in the past has brought in $25,000 over a two-day period. The store offers discounts on 10 spring related items, induding wheelbarrows, flats of flowers, fertilizer and gardening gloves. This year, the sale will be held April 25 and 26, according to store manager Justin Wagner, who added, “We used to have it two weeks earlier, but we want to make sure the weather is cooperating.”
Do it Best is helping its members attract spring shoppers through several promotions, including a $1,000 spring shopping spree sweep stakes to bring more traffic in to the stores. One member, Hardman’s Do it Best in Spencer, W.Va., is taking the promotion a step further, creating a