“I know it was just material objects, but that building held so many memories.” The Danek family committed to rebuilding and salvaging the business, constructing a new store following the floor plan of the original building as closely as possible. The family held a grand re-opening in 2010 to celebrate the slightly larger 7,500-square-foot store, along with a few more additions. “We were still using handwritten tickets until the store burned to the ground,” Teresa says. “With the new building, we were able to install a POS system, along with a camera monitoring system and central heat. Now we have heat in the winter, which is nice.” In December 2018, reasons for change came to the operation again when the company’s main supplier went out of business. “We were looking for a new supplier, and Jason Ealand, our representative from our previous supplier recommended Blish-Mize,” Teresa says. “We took his advice and ended up partnering with them. We were really impressed they were willing to come this far south.” The relationship has been fruitful, with the family regularly attending Blish-Mize’s biannual hardware shows. “Blish-Mize’s communication is good, their deliveries are timely and the customer support via our representative is great,” Teresa says. “We have been very happy with this partnership.”

Most of the store’s advertising is executed through word-of-mouth, and merchandising is completed with the intent to showcase new products. “We like to have new items on display in the main walkway of the store to draw our customers’ attention,” Teresa says. “We also use new item stickers to call attention to fresh product.” The products on display in the main walkway also serve as a helpful reminder to customers. “We rotate merchandise, often seasonally, to remind our customers of jobs they may need to complete,” Teresa says. “For example, in springtime, we put water hoses, ant killer, wasp spray and any other spring essentials our customers might need together on display.” Changes and Chances The business owners pride themselves on the old-school hardware store atmosphere, although the original building was lost to a fire in April 2009. The fire was suspected to be electrical, though the source is unknown. Occurring overnight, the fire spared human injuries, yet the 100-year-old building finished with a shiplap ceiling, block pattern exterior sheet metal siding and longleaf pine wood floors was damaged beyond repair. “It was like losing a family member,” Dolly says.

Booth # 243

Hardlines Strategies • Spring 2023 29

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