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Clinton Hardware

Clinton Hardware’s Historic Merchandising

Historic Welcome 
Clinton Hardware in Clinton, Maryland, has an eye-catching entry display that introduces customers to the history of the operation. 

The business opened in 1946, and the display includes a paint shaker that has belonged to the store since day one, an old nail keg and other antique tools. The entryway also features a photo of former owners Clyde Billman and Dennis Billman in front of the company’s original building. 

“We embrace our past,” says company president  David Billman. “The entry is a great conversation starter for introducing new customers to who we are and what we do.”

Nostalgic Merchandising
The store has also incorporated mementos from the store’s history into its modern merchandising. The store’s bulk seed rack is an example. The shelving and drawers came from the store’s original 1946 location. The shelves now hold a tidy row of jars containing bulk seeds, scoops for measuring, paper bags and a scale for weighing purchases.

Beautifying Displays
When manager Belinda Billman began doing some redecorating at the store, other staff members were skeptical. Belinda thought the look and feel of the store had gotten stale. So, she brought in antique cabinets to spruce up some of the merchandising. Now, employees and customers alike admire her handiwork. 

“People love it,” she says.

Creative Stacks and Bins
Belinda likes to keep the store’s merchandising looking fresh. One of her solutions for improving the look of dump bins was to stack wine barrels to make a creative display. 

Products, such as ice scrapers and bottles of windshield deicer, are sorted by type and arranged in the top barrels. 

Inspired by Billman’s artistry, other members of the Clinton Hardware staff used wooden crates to build an endcap with individual display cubbies for hot sauces and spices. Working together to be creative boosts employee engagement, Belinda says. 

“It gets them more involved and excited about selling new products,” she says.

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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