When customers walk into Gladieux Do it Best Home Center, they are greeted by the usual hardlines offerings, outdoor power equipment and pet supplies—as well as one niche customers might not expect. That unique niche is a model train department, complete with a display that includes a scale replica of the store.
Ron Gladieux, Jr., president of the company, says the unique niche started with his father. “My father was always in to trains, so when we opened our new location in 1999 and had some extra space to work with, we decided to use it to put in a model train department—something different and unique.”
A few employees built a train display to add to the department, working on it a little at a time and using materials from the store’s lumber department. They also constructed the scale replica of the store to go along with the display. “We decided to build it so that when we go to train show, others at the show could identify our store with our display,” Gladieux says. “The guys who made it even sawed the composite sheets to make it look like the siding on the side of our building—it was pretty neat.”
He says they go to two or three train shows each year and bring the display with them to each, and even take it to some fundraising events.
Gladieux says the train display is a hit with customers, and especially with kids who come in to the store with their parents to shop. “The kids always want to see the trains. It’s a good hobby, and a lot of people are still involved in that hobby.”