When visiting independent home improvement stores, consumers know they can find the core categories they need. However, different areas of the country are bound to bring unique niches and product offerings you wouldn’t expect to find anywhere else.
Earlier this month, Hardware Retailing editors visited stores in Florida, taking a look at what the retailers in the state are bringing to the table. Whether having an archery range attached to the store or selling citrus trees for Floridian backyards, these stores deliver exactly what their customers want and need.
Read on to learn about what set each of these stores apart from one another and view the photo gallery for merchandising ideas from the Sunshine State to implement at your business.
Ace Hardware Cocoa Beach Garden Shop
The first stop on the tour of stores was Ace Hardware Cocoa Beach Garden Shop in Cocoa Beach, Florida. NRHA staffers Kelsey Truex and Renee Changnon had the opportunity to meet Stephen Nichols, manager of two stores in Florida.
Walking into the store, NRHA staffers were drawn in to the gift and housewares items that were on display. From beach-themed items to Halloween decorations, the entrance to the store immediately gets customers interested and sparks a desire for impulse shopping.
Another area of the business that stood out was the attached garden center structure. The covered building has areas where shaded plants can thrive and full sun plants can soak up the Florida sunshine.
D&E Hardware & Outdoors
As soon as a customer pulls into the parking lot at D&E Hardware & Outdoors in Mims, Florida, they’ll see a sign with a large hammer as the base. While store manager Jason Howard wasn’t at the store when Truex and Changnon visited, store employees gave them a tour of the business.
One of the first things that stood out aside from the freshly finished floors was the paint and sundries island. As a True Value store, D&E Hardware was one of the first stores to unveil the unique merchandising display for paint and sundries. It’s a rounded structure, allowing customers to walk around it and look at paint chips from all angles.
Another unique aspect of the business is that it includes an outdoors shop, which is home to hunting and outdoor gear, as well as an archery range. Customers can purchase equipment at the store and test it out right inside the archery range.
East Coast Lumber & Supply
While passing through Cocoa, Florida, Truex and Changnon also stopped in at East Coast Lumber & Supply, a business that has been in operation since 1902. The store has a sprawling lumberyard and an extensive hardware and garden area. From a decorative birding section inside the store to a large garden area full of blooming flowers and fruit trees for sale, the store exudes a true tropical vibe.
Toole’s Ace Hardware
The last store Truex and Changnon visited was Toole’s Ace Hardware in Oviedo, Florida, where they met store manager Dan Tanner. He walked them through the store, which has only been in operation since summer of 2017.
The store has an impressive selection of grills and grilling accessories, which Tanner said is extremely popular in the community. The business also has a wide selection of walking and riding lawn mowers.
As hurricane season was in full force while Truex and Changnon were in town, the store even had a display that included products customers would need to prepare for hurricanes.