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Going Beyond the Typical Donation

In the June 2016 issue of Hardware Retailing magazine, we shared stories from five retailers about how they serve their communities. The retailers provided so much information and countless examples of how they are involved in their communities that we could not fit it all in the magazine, so we have provided the extra content below. To read more about how retailers go beyond the typical donation, click here.

Getting Others Involved

“My father always said if you’ve never tried and failed, you will never know success,” says John Locke, owner of Orillia Home Hardware Building Centre in Orillia, Ontario. And that is the mentality he has taken in regards to his store’s community involvement. “You have to jump off the end of the diving board and hope there is water in the pool. Retail can be so much fun if you get your customers involved with you.”

Locke, who gets about 27 donation requests a month, both big and small, is community minded and his store is known as a cornerstone in the town.

“It’s almost getting to the point where you could hire someone on full time,” he says in regards to the amount of requests the store receives. “But I like it too much so I’m not giving it to anyone else. I have fun with it; it’s neat to dream up things and see if I can help in some way.”

Of these requests, Locke says about 90 percent of them are fulfilled and he does this in a variety of ways. Sometimes they are simply monetary donations, but oftentimes he tries to get the store involved beyond that.

“Whenever possible, we try to get the other party involved in our store or raise the money here,” Locke says. “We find ways to incorporate the store without losing respect for the event.”

For example, when the Boy Scouts were going to a jamboree and needed money to fund the trip, Locke had the pack come and clean the windshields and the insides of customers’ cars that were shopping in the store one Saturday.

“Whenever someone approaches us, we try to not just write a check but get them involved with the store,” he says. “Get to know us and get to know the staff.”

Locke once got a request to help a 9-year-old boy fund his travel hockey team expenses.

“I asked the kid to come to the store, help customers carry stuff out and bring the shopping carts back, and do this for eight Saturdays,” Locke says. “He didn’t like it the first few Saturdays but his parents said it was the best lesson because he learned the value of a dollar.”

Another way Locke gets people to get to know his store is by allowing his employees to volunteer at or join area organizations, and he pays them for those hours.

“If I put one of my employees in an organization, then those people that meet my employee will come to my store,” Locke says. “I don’t want employees that work, go home, work then go home. I want them to be involved and know the customers.”

Local Organizations Work Together for Greater Good

HomCo Lumber & Hardware connects with community organizations by getting them involved with their events.

For example, the store donates to a local women’s shelter, and when HomCo hosts an annual ladies night event to fundraise, women from the shelter get involved.

“They help us a lot by supplying volunteers for the event,” says Christina Russo, marketing coordinator at HomCo Lumber & Hardware. “They also attend and use the event as an opportunity to hand out flyers and share information about their cause.”

The HomCo Home Show is another example of how the company gives back. HomCo offers free booth space to seven non-profit organizations that the company has close relationships with.

“This is our way of helping these groups get the word out and spread the message about their missions,” says Russo.

About Sara Logel

As NRHA’s market research analyst, Sara conducts organic research and stays abreast of industry trends to help hardware retailers better run their business. Sara also contributes to editorial content in Hardware Retailing magazine. Sara received her B.S. in Marketing and Spanish from Butler University and, after graduation, began her career with NRHA. Sara enjoys traveling, being outdoors and exploring the city of Indianapolis.

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