House-Hasson Hardware, the nation’s largest independent regional hardware distributor, set a new company record in 2013 for new and remodeled hardware store and lumberyard projects, and heads into 2014 with more such projects pending than at the start of any other year in the company’s 107-year history.
House-Hasson’s 30 new-store and remodeling projects, called store sets, topped the company’s previous high of 25. It opened 2014 with a record 44 projects on its planning boards, and more are expected, said Don Hasson, the company’s president.
“These numbers are growing because dealers are seeing new or renovated stores as a great investment, and they’re taking advantage of deals the depressed real estate market has enabled them to make on building and locations,” he says. “Convenient and well-stocked hardware stores and lumberyards are strong, steady businesses that provide a good return on investment, better than these dealers would get in a savings account, a certificate of deposit and less of a gamble than the stock market.”
The company has a corporate team exclusively set up to work with dealers on their new or renovated store planning, design, layout, merchandising, dealer and customer support, electronic functions and every other component of opening the new business.
Dave Helfenberger, House-Hasson vice president of marketing, says dealers are combining real estate bargains with a series of features House-Hasson has added to improve dealer profitability.
“We’ve greatly enlarged our electronic support by offering our dealers’ web sites, internet-based ordering systems and customer-friendly ordering and services,” Helfenberger says. “These are additional confidence boosters for dealers that help reinforce their decisions to grow their businesses.”
Hasson says that dealers show great interest in the company’s point-of-sale communication offered in conjunction with 10 different software companies.
“Variable retail pricing and customized advertising programs for their specific markets are other benefits that dealers see will help support an expansion or a new store,” Hasson says.