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Hardware Props Entertain Customers at Kendall’s Ace Hardware

Hardware Props Entertain Customers at Kendall’s Ace Hardware

Kendall and Alexandra Crosby, owners of Kendall’s Ace Hardware in St. Paul, Minnesota,
view their hardware store a little like a movie set. They want to engage their customers, but they also want to entertain them.

“We’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from Disney World,” says Kendall. “At that park, there are props everywhere, and people respond. They love walking around and looking at everything. We see the same thing happening in our store. Disney might have a lot of money to create the props around their park, but we can create a lot just using stuff we already sell.”

They’ve used supplies from around the store to create unique, homemade, hardware-themed props for nearly every department. In the pest control department, Kendall used lumber and copper pipe to create a giant rat trap. Other creations use duct tape and cardboard, such as a giant wrench in the tools department. The key-cutting area has a lampshade made of used keys, and the lighting department has a tin man and woman made of ductwork.

While Kendall usually directs his creative skills toward the hardware props, Alexandra takes the lead in other merchandising such as endcaps and window displays.

“She comes from a visual design background with 27 years of experience as a professional designer, creating window displays for Nordstrom and Macy’s,” says Kendall. “Then she married me and now does visuals in a hardware store!”

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton
Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NRHA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.