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Store Gets Creative To Sell Building Supplies

A small outdoor aisle lined with pipes on one side and sheets of plywood and two-by-fours on the other is the newest Fuller & Son store’s lumberyard. A box truck parked behind the business is what the store owners call Warehouse B.

The new store in Little Rock’s high-rent Heights neighborhood is only 4,300 square feet, and making the best use of every square foot was paramount, co-owner Jeff Fuller says. He owns Fuller & Son’s six stores, which are all in central Arkansas, with his father and brother.

The three of them saw the Heights area as an ideal spot for a new location, but they didn’t have many options for retail space.

The little store on R Street wasn’t going to fit enough products to support the high rent costs without creative merchandising and storage, Fuller says. So, their distributor helped with stacked sliding displays and other fixtures for merchandising to use interior space as well as possible. The Fullers then opened the store at the end of 2014.

“It was our last chance for a Heights location,” Fuller says.

But, when Heights customers wanted to buy lumber and other building products, the Fullers had to solve another space problem.

The solution? A mini lumberyard not quite wide enough for two people to walk through side by side, and a box truck parked in a spot borrowed from a bank next door.

The narrow lumber aisle stores thin PVC pipes nested in large pipes on metal racks, which are attached to wooden privacy fencing. Opposite the pipe, boards lean against the back exterior wall of the store under an overhanging roof.

The truck provides storage space for Sheetrock and particle board, which customers can pick up at the truck door.

You, too, can find creative ways to maximize the use of minimal space when you can’t add on to a building. Perhaps sliding displays, taller shelving or hooks for suspending products from a ceiling could do the trick.

Take a look at your building and rethink how you’re using both the interior and exterior. You might come up with resourceful solutions on your own and grow your selling opportunities within the store footprint you already have.

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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