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2016 Young Retailer of the Year: Dan Moulton

Dan MoultonMultiple Store Retailers
Hanover Home Hardware Centre, Hanover, Ontario
Alliston Home Hardware Building Centre, Alliston, Ontario

Dan Moulton and his wife, Emily, may have only been 24 years old when they walked into Hanover Home Hardware Building Centre as the new owners, but they knew how to work hard, and smart. Today, four years later, they have already achieved a more than 28 percent increase at Hanover, in a market with heavy competition, and have been able to purchase a second store.

Moulton is no stranger to retailing. He grew up working for his father’s Canadian Tire store and La-Z-Boy furniture store. After high school, he pursued a bachelor of commerce degree from Kingston Ontario’s Queen’s University and then a masters of arts in theology at Fuller Seminary in California. But even though he spent some time in the financial industry, he always had a dream to own his own business.

In 2012, he had the opportunity to the purchase Hanover Home Hardware Building Centre. While learning about the hardware side of the business from industry training courses and his staff, he also began making big changes to the store. Just eleven weeks after taking ownership, he made changes to the store’s computer system that allowed him a more efficient way to control costs. Less than a year later, he remerchandised the entire store and remodeled the inside and outside.

While Moulton was plunging ahead with critical updates to the store, several experienced staff, including the store manager, left the business. While that could have been an obstacle, Moulton turned it into an opportunity for a positive change. With an emphasis on creating a positive working environment and understanding the need for a work and family balance, he soon rebuilt a strong team of employees. “You can’t control the economy; you can’t control how many customers are in your marketplace; but you can control your attitude, integrity and work ethic. Our team has all three,” he says. He offers competitive salaries and profit sharing for full-time employees.

In 2015, Moulton and his wife purchased Alliston Home Hardware Building Centre, in Alliston, Ontario. The store manager there, Kim Ystma, had already made her mark in the industry as a 2013 NRHA Young Retailer of the Year. Moulton began increasing stock levels and increasing the number of promotional displays. In the first year, sales increased 8 percent and the number of transactions increased 9 percent.

“I love that my job is never the same,” he says. “Managing a team, winning new customers, competing in the marketplace; it’s fun.”

With tough competition around Hanover Home Hardware, including independents and big boxes, much of the growth in sales is due to the way he pursues his customer base. He created a “Win the Weekend Shopper” strategy that uses radio ads and weekly banner ads in the local paper to offer do-it-yourselfers promotional items to get them into his store.

Moulton considers it his responsibility to give back to his community, and he does it cheerfully and generously. The store supports, through monetary and product donations, numerous organizations, including community center building projects, summer festivals, hospices, sports teams, senior centers and local hospitals. He’s sent his giving spirit abroad, too, with donations to charity missions in disadvantaged countries.

Watch Dan’s video here.

About 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 NHPA’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.

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