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Spring Training, Hardware Style

The staff at Costello’s Ace, which has 23 locations in New York and two in New Jersey, knows employee knowledge leads to better customer service. So they put together a training event to connect employees and vendors, so employees could learn more about the products they sell.

The event was successful and has grown each year. The fifth annual Spring Training Product Knowledge Event was held in March, and for the first time, a similar event will be held in the fall.

“It started five years ago,” says David Faulhaber, marketing and vendor relationship manager for Costello’s Ace. “We wanted to make sure that, as always, our customers were well taken care of and our employees were well-prepared to handle any of their questions.”

So they began working to bring in vendors to meet with the employees. Now, anywhere from 30 to 40 vendors attend the training event, including representatives from across multiple categories. Representatives from Ace Hardware have also attended.

The two-day training includes morning and afternoon sessions, which allows time for each of the business’s nearly 600 employees to attend, while keeping all stores open and running. (All employees are required to attend at least one session during the two days.)

Vendors can give presentations, offer product demonstrations, conduct question-and-answer sessions or use any other format they like to present product information to the employees.

“We give employees the opportunity to meet with all vendors so they can leave with knowledge they didn’t have before—knowledge they can take back to their stores and to the customers,” Faulhaber says.

About Lynnea Chom

Lynnea is the senior graphic designer for Hardware Retailing magazine, where she works on the layout and design of the magazine and other custom publications. She also does print design for NRHA’s marketing materials, programs and other in-house projects. Lynnea graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Graphic Design. She lives in her hometown of Greenwood, Indiana. During her free time, she enjoys designing, painting, reading and volunteering at her family-owned childcare facility.

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