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Knowing the customers name is part of the battle that you can win against larger competition.
That’s an insight from the playbook of McDaniel’s Do-It Center, the 2012 Golden Hammer “Tools of the Trade” Award winner.
Also when battling big boxes, it’s important to use brand names, said Brad McDaniel, owner of the store in Snohomish, Wash.
“When we found out the box stores were coming, one of the things that really helped us fight it was the brand names,” said McDaniel, during the Golden Hammer Retail panel in Las Vegas, held during the National Hardware Show. One of those names is Benjamin Moore, he said -- “because people know that name.”
And speaking of names, knowing the customers’ names is a big part of the battle. “The advantage for us independents is we learn people names,” McDaniel said. “We know people’s families. Their dad shopped at the store, their grandfather shopped at the store. I have employees who have been with us a long time and know them; that also helps us in the fight.”
Bird feed and feeders has given the retailer a strong niche. “That’s one department that is totally recession-proof, and it’s something the boxes do a horrible job at,” he said.
“Another niche that does really well for us and is a little off the wall is the glass bottled soda, the old-fashioned soda,” he said. “We just keep expanding that area because it’s an excellent draw for customers for us.
“We’re finding out the niches, learning customers names and also the old adage that 20% of your customers do about 80% of your business. We just really decided we’re going to focus on that 20% extra hard and really smother them. Meet them early at the store or stay later for them -- anything we can do to let them know we’re going to take care of them,” he added.