From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: OT: Home Depot was Re: Power pole
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 15:20:47 -0500
On 24 Feb 2006 09:01:22 -0800, "dm_callier" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>Pretty much the same scenario in our area. Both Eagle and Home Depot
>opened stores on the edge of town ( a block from one another) and
>effectively killed off the family owned hardware store that had been a
>downtown fixture for generations.
Oh rubbish. If the "local" hardware died, it was because it was just
hanging on because there was no other customer choice. When customers
gained choices they voted with their feet.
The local family owned Ace hardware is doing a land-office business
despite there being a new Lowe's AND a Home Depot within a couple of
blocks. In fact, they just completed an expansion.
Why are they thriving? Because they carry everything under the sun,
have knowledgeable staff and still know what customer service is all
about. I recently got a new gasket for my 50s vintage vacuum coffee
pot. I bet they have 100,000 pieces of brass and steel pipe fittings.
There is an employee stationed full time in each department and for
the most part, all have been equipped with a clue. They still will
carry heavy things to your car or truck. They carry a full line,
including spare parts, of several of the major brands of power
equipment. Their prices are almost always higher but I almost always
go there because I know the odds are great that they'll have what I
This town has endured an invasion of chain restaurants since we voted
in liquor about 4 years ago. Yet my little restaurant is doing just
fine. Why? Because my food is better and I give personal service.
Like Ace, I'm a bit higher than the chains for the same dishes but I
cook everything in-house (no commissary prep'n'freeze) using fresh
ingredients and (more importantly) fresh spices and the taste
difference shows. I know most of my regulars by name and usually
know what they'll be ordering. I do such little extras as take
call-in orders for eat-ins for people who only have 30 minutes for
lunch. And if they tell me what they'll be paying with, I have their
change already laying by their plates when they arrive. I don't have
a drive-thru but I do walk call-in orders out to the curb when asked.
I also keep a (paper, security system: big-assed safe) file for those
who want me to of frequent customers' CC numbers so I can run their
tabs before they get here. All this is why people come to me instead
of the chain stores.
None of these big box stores "run anyone out of business". All they
do is raise the bar which is a VERY good thing. Before the big box
stores came to town, frankly, the local Ace sucked. More empty bins
than full and surly clerks. Fortunately the owners read the writing
on the wall and changed. Several others who didn't are gone now. Good
If anything, the big box stores are GOOD for business because they
generate traffic to the area. There's an old saying in the restaurant
business that goes, "the best place to be is across the street from a
McDonalds." Both because McDonalds has already surveyed the area and
picked a prime spot and because it generates a huge volume of traffic,
some of which will detour off to the independent restaurant.
John's rule for detecting a pre-dead business ripe for the big box
harvest: The first words out of the clerk's mouth are "we don't have
it but we can order it." Yeah, so can I and without the retail