Because I work for the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), I can’t help getting excited when I unexpectedly come across a locally owned hardware store in a foreign city. That’s true even when I’m on vacation with my family.
In November, while I was living in Split, Croatia, with Remote Year, I took a weekend trip to Amsterdam to visit with family for the Thanksgiving holiday.
As we hurriedly walked down the stone streets lining the city canals in a rush to make it to an afternoon tour, I spotted a locally owned hardware store called Gunters & Meuser.
Understanding my excitement for hardware stores, my family patiently waited as I walked in and gave myself a tour.
I have visited many independent home improvement businesses over the past few years, and I can safely say that you can always find similarities between locally owned hardware stores.
But what’s most exciting for me is discovering what makes each store unique and sharing that uniqueness with the rest of the industry.
So, what quirk stood out to me at Gunters & Meuser? The cool window displays.
On each side of the store’s front door were display windows. In the right window sat a display made up of store antiques and hardware relics likely collected throughout the history of the business alongside a sign reading “190 Jaar,” which translates to “190 years.”
In the left window, the historic display from the right window is almost replicated with products and posters of what’s currently available in the store. This display also included the same sign, “190 Jaar.”
Before entering the store, customers can see into the history of the local business as well as what’s new today. The displays compare yesterday to today, showing the community that this store has loyally been serving them for 190 years.
There are many ways to showcase the history of your business, from endcaps to photos arranged around your store. Next time you approach an important anniversary or another business milestone, consider creative ways for sharing your store’s history with your customers.
Where in the world is Hilary?
North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) staffer Hilary Welter is spending 12 months traveling with Remote Year, living, working and getting in touch with retail in different parts of the world. She’s currently working from Split, Croatia. To see more NRHA Abroad posts from Welter, click here. For a look at what it’s like to travel, work and live abroad, check out her personal blog.