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Fighting The Big-Box Stores

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The Just family has operated our hardware store in this community for three generations. Our store has supported all of our family members very well in all of our years in business. We have recently been informed that Home Depot is planning on opening a new store in our community. The following is our plan of action to stay in business and continue to serve our community.


Currently Home Depot is planning on opening a new store in our community. We foresee this posing a huge financial threat to our business. Being a small locally owned hardware store, we are not able to obtain huge volume discounts like the big box stores. Currently our hours of operation are significantly shorter than Home Depot. Home Depot is a nationally renowned name brand store, which in itself will be a significant hurdle to overcome. Home Depot has a huge advertising budget, which includes NASCAR sponsorships and national television advertisements. The paramount concern for us is the competition they will impose relative to our customer base.

Current Situation

Seymour currently has one other hardware store located in the heart of the city in addition to ours. Both of our businesses have the same hours of operation, which are Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm and 8am until noon on Saturday.

Our store has seven employees currently. Four are very knowledgeable individuals with a total of 120 years of experience between them. Two other members work part-time throughout the week stocking shelves and cleaning, while the last employee does the paperwork and ordering for the store.

A huge percentage of our customers look to us for advice on how to repair their problems. They value our expertise in plumbing, electrical, paint, and personalized customer service. We believe we have an advantage in this area. Currently, we don't offer any other services except waiting on the customers, answering questions, and on a limited basis, filling small orders from a limited supply base.

Possible Causes of the Problem

We believe that Home Depot's purchasing power could be the biggest issue facing us. They are a multi-billion dollar industry dispersing products nationwide. The result is providing lower cost product to the customer, while at the same time offering convenient one-stop shopping.

Alternative Approaches

After doing some sole-searching and conducting some poles within the community, we have come up with some ideas that might help us overcome the competition with Home Depot.

We found out in our poling questions, that our early closing hours have caused potential customers to drive all the way to Columbus to get their needed parts. We also realized that most individuals or "do it yourselfers" did most of their work after they got off from work. So, changing our store hours might help out some of those type customers.

We felt like our store location was not a huge factor when it came to competing with our competition, in fact it might help us from the standpoint that we have less traffic associated with our location than Home Depot will have.

In our research we also discovered that on many occasions we could have helped a customer purchase what they were looking for if we would have offered to order it from a catalog. Setting up some new venders will assist us in getting the customer what they want.

After some brainstorming of our own, we realized that most of our customers were small local contractors doing what they do best, home repair, remodeling, and some new housing jobs. We feel like we can expand our customer base considerably by reaching out to local industry and offer services that, until now, were not heard of. It's imperative that we continue serving our long-time loyal customers while at the same time giving them more options to choose from for their hardware needs.

Plan of Action

It is our intentions to not only survive with the new competition moving into town, but to also grow our business significantly within our community. We will stay in the same location where we have been for thirty years and it is our goal not to reduce headcount.

We will not try to compete against Home Depot as a Home Depot. That is not the type of business that we are in. We must continue to run our business based on our business, not based on anyone else's. Rather than expand to try and beat Home Depot at it's own game, we must diversify our offerings.

Our plan of action is as follows:

* People come to our store for advice. Our staff must be the best-educated and best information provider for home improvement items in our community. Big-box stores cannot duplicate this easily.

* Our store must offer the best selection. We know that the mass merchants sell the top brands, but we must have the best selection of key product categories and let our community know.

* Our store will provide our customers a fast checkout. Big-box stores are known for long checkout lines. Our customers will be able to get-in and get-out quicker at our store.

* We will offer our customers convenient delivery to their home



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