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2016 Young Retailer of the Year: Marc Currie

MarcOver $2 Million in Sales
Niece Lumber, Lambertville, New Jersey
President

Marc Currie first began working for the family business when he was in high school, lending a hand wherever needed. He wasn’t sold on making a career in the home improvement industry, but when he graduated from college and his father asked him to work the sales counter at Niece Lumber for a few weeks, he realized he belonged in the business. Today, he’s proud to be the fourth generation owner of the company.

One of Currie’s first major successes was increasing decking sales by 85 percent. He expanded the category and improved displays. Currie is a big believer in positive change, and made product updates and added new initiatives early on in his career.

Once he became general manager, Currie took on Niece Lumber’s lingering challenge – the hardware store. Dominated by a lumberyard with a heavy professional clientele, the hardware category accounted for only a small percentage of overall sales. To fix that, he decided to make a big change. Currie began buying from a different distributor, got rid of dead inventory and refined the hardware selection, heavily emphasizing American-made products. Hardware sales are up 60 percent and now they account for over 16 percent of overall sales.

He continued to add more high-quality product lines that are not available at other businesses in the area. He added a line of uniquely designed vents that provide flood protection and ventilation to protect homes and buildings during natural disasters. Shortly after Currie created a website specifically for the product, Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast. His website was one of few online dealers in the world to sell that type of vent, and sales of the product skyrocketed over 700 percent in the first year, and rose another 46 percent in 2014. His marketing and online efforts have continued to keep sales strong.

Power tools are another category that Currie improved upon. He added a new premium line and upped service and support for the department. This resulted in a huge jump in sales and customer satisfaction. In addition, he added granite countertops, and the company now sells complete kitchen packages with six designers on staff. While he continued to add new product lines, Currie wanted to focus on improving the layout of the store.

“I just looked at our store and said, ‘We can do it better,’” Currie says. “I’m not the one who thinks about doing something and then waits a few years. I’m either going to do it or I’m not going to do it, and if it’s getting done, we’re getting it done now.”

He finalized plans to remodel the business in October 2015, and a few weeks later it was underway. Currie reorganized the store’s choppy layout, upgraded product selection and added 1,000 new items. He redesigned the paint department and increased the store’s lockset collection. He also added new signage throughout the store and lumberyard and created a new logo for the company. His efforts paid off. Niece Lumber’s average ticket jumped 9 percent last year, up nearly 32 percent since 2012. Sales have also consistently risen, up 28 percent over the past three years.

While he’s making strides in the company, Currie is also dedicated to his community. He and his staff help organize the local Friday Night Fireworks every weekend during the summer. Niece Lumber also paid for the high school’s new scoreboard and basketball court, and donated materials for the new announcer’s booth and brick facades around the fields. Currie is also the new little league vice president, and financially supports several organizations, including the Eagle Scouts, fire department and local historical societies.

 

Watch Marc’s video here.

About Hilary Welter

Hilary Welter

As the member services and communications coordinator, Hilary contributes to all member-focused communications efforts. She assists with communication aspects of member recruitment and retention and contributes to the marketing of member programs and benefits. Additionally, she is the voice behind NRHA and Hardware Retailing social media accounts. Hilary is currently working remotely while traveling abroad, tapping into the international hardware markets along the way. To follow her adventures, visit www.hardwareretailing.com/NRHA-Abroad starting August 1, 2016.