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Project Carts Offer Construction Knowledge

It’s usually easier to show rather than simply tell, especially when it comes to explaining how a house is put together.

When Larry Mallaber, vice president of Nunda PRO Lumber and Hardware in Nunda, New York, wanted a better way to show customers how to use all of the various building materials he sells, he created a series of movable project carts. The project carts each feature a different project or related building materials. For example, the roofing project cart shows a cutaway of the roof, illustrating the various layers including building paper, weathershield, flashing and shingles. Another cart shows the various types of insulation the store carries and how it is installed in the wall.

“The carts make it easy to understand the different parts of the roof or whatever part of the home we’re talking about,” says Mallaber. “The response from the customer is typically, ‘I see it now!’ It’s all visual, and the carts become a display for the products we have in our store.”

The displays are not just for DIY customers, either. “Contractors sometimes start out as consumers, in that there’s a point when they’re just learning about a project,” he says. In addition, Mallaber can use the project carts to show contractors how to use new products. He has about 10 project carts, each showing a different project.

Roughly 2 feet square at the base and 5 feet tall, the carts have caster wheels so they can easily be moved around the store, depending on where the employee is interacting with the customer. Mallaber keeps some of them towards the back of the store and parks others at the front, depending on what might be the popular project for that season of the year.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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