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Declared a complete loss, the Mount Jackson, Virginia, location of Randy’s Hardware was destroyed in an overnight fire in February 2022. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the blaze, but the operation, which has three other locations in Virginia, suffered a major blow. Despite the tragedy, leadership was determined to rebound and rebuild.
As the store’s leadership team was making plans to rebuild the store, it heard about a local grocery store that planned on closing soon. With help from the local community, the team transformed the building from a grocery store to a hardware store, gaining additional space to offer expanded product lines and new categories to better serve customers.
Just 100 days after the fire, the new location opened and began serving customers. The grand reopening event provided a way for Randy’s Hardware to show thanks to the community for their support. Attendees enjoyed free food and drinks, door prizes, giveaways, product discounts and local vendors’ products for sale.
The team knew they wanted to protect their employee’s jobs and rebuilding needed to happen quickly to accomplish that goal, says Randy’s Hardware CEO and co-owner Christian Herrick. Within hours of the fire, he received emails from members of the town council offering their support and asking what they could do to help. Soon after, the team also heard from several local business owners who offered their assistance, including usage of a nearby warehouse, while leadership figured out what they were going to do. Herrick says the amount of support from complete strangers was overwhelming.
“Immediately after the fire, I didn’t know what we would do or how we would do it,” Herrick says. “Sometimes, as business owners and operators, we start to feel isolated in our communities and as if we are imposing on them a bit. This short-term disaster taught us that we have more fans and supporters than are usually vocal. It also showed just how vital a hardware store is to a small community.”
On the Mark
D&B Supply, a farm and ranch retailer with 15 store locations throughout Idaho and Oregon, opened their new flagship location in Caldwell, Idaho, in February. The new store’s square footage totals 98,000 square feet with an additional 5,600-square-foot greenhouse, which allowed them to expand many category offerings, while adding some new ones.
“One of the unique things we added was an indoor archery lane where customers can test archery bow products prior to purchasing,” says director of purchasing Larry Cigler. “The addition of a full archery department and tech shop compliments our current offering of firearms, ammo, hunting accessories and fishing departments.”
Tackling Tax Time
To ease the stress that can come during tax season, J-town Hardware and Rental in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, has provided a convenient place for customers to have their taxes done. For the last three years, from February through May, owner Bradley Carson has given up his office every Saturday for five hours to allow a local tax accountant to use it as a home base to prepare taxes for customers.
“At times, she has 10 people waiting to have their taxes done, so the service has been a great way to bring new customers into the store,” he says. “It’s been an excellent way to drive traffic, but we also enjoy providing an extra level of service to our customers.”