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Bilingual Signage Helps Welcome New Customers

At Central Valley, a lumber and building materials center with locations throughout northern California, president and CEO Steve Patterson wants every customer to feel welcomed. From diversifying his inventory to meet local industries’ specific needs to creating Spanish-language signage throughout this store, Patterson and the Central Valley team aim to ensure each customers’ needs are met when they shop Central Valley.

“There’s a certain comfort level when someone is able to shop and discover products in their maternal tongue,” Patterson says. “Part of our job is connecting with customers, and part of that is allowing them to communicate how they feel most comfortable.”

‘Para Los Que Tienen La Pasión de Construir’

bilingual signagePatterson himself speaks Spanish, but says relying on your own knowledge of a foreign language may not be the best route to take if your store chooses to display bilingual signage.

Instead, Central Valley hires professional translators to craft their in-store Spanish signage. In addition, Central Valley queries its shoppers to ensure all signage is regionally specific, meaning their customers’ specific dialects and vocabulary are used in the signage.

Every aisle includes a description in English and Spanish, helping California’s estimated 10 million Spanish speakers quickly navigate the salesfloor and find the exact products they need. Even the store’s motto, ‘For Those With a Passion to Build’ has been translated.

Share Your Story

How is your business welcoming customers who don’t speak English as their first language? Which languages do customers in your community speak? Tell Hardware Retailing about it at the North American Retail Hardware Association forum.

About Todd Taber

Todd is trends editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. He graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NRHA in 2017.

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