One Saturday afternoon each month, some of HomCo Lumber & Hardware’s youngest customers can be found at the back of the store, working on their own DIY projects.
The kids are participating in a Young Builders event, hosted monthly at the Flagstaff, Arizona, store. HomCo started the events a few years ago to help local kids learn to love DIY projects at young ages.
“We used to do the Young Builders projects only in the summer, but we had customers ask about it being year-round, so in January, we started hosting the event every month,” training coordi- nator Angela Johnson says.
She’s in charge of each month’s event, planning projects and coor- dinating with staff to ensure all materials are prepped and ready to go. Two employees also help with each workshop.
June’s project was to make a toolbox as a Father’s Day gift, which took workers five or six hours of cutting and bundling materials into packages for the kids to assemble.
When it’s time for kids to work on their projects, they get to try different tools.
“They can use drills, hammers and screwdrivers and watch us use a saw,” Johnson says.
There’s also a punch card to encourage kids to come back to future Young Builders workshops. Anyone who attends six or more of the events in one year gets to draw a prize from a treasure box Johnson has.
Overall sales are up 9 percent on those days, thanks to the workshops, but this event is about working with people in the community and showing off the staff’s strong customer service skills, she says.
“Even if the parents don’t buy anything, it gets them in the store, and they may return later,” she says. “And it’s a good way to interact with our youngest customers.”