With Walmart on Horizon, Decatur Hardware Shop Adapts
The Intown ACE Hardware store on Scott Boulevard has expanded its garden department, for example.
What does the coming of Walmart to nearby Suburban Plaza mean to a small store like Intown ACE Hardware?
One of the owners, Tony Powers, says it means even more change, adaptivity and creativity, according to Michelle Hiskey, a writer for the Saporta Report. Hiskey writes:
For Powers and his business partner Dave Jones, who benefit from the Ace national buying collective, that transformation meant ordering Adirondack chairs in sherbet colors; devoting prime shelf space to Decatur-logoed license plates and apparel; letting loose with fun events such as a staff Pirate Day, documented on the store’s website.
Walk in at the right time, and you can scoop your own bag of popcorn freshly popped in the old-fashioned cart near the front register. Across the aisle is a counter lined with old wooden baseball bats – collected first by a lawyer who lived next door, who bartered them for rent when Intown Hardware expanded. In lieu of advertising, the store prefers to sponsor youth teams, school auctions and community fundraisers. Ask a cashier about their year-round inventory of Girl Scout cookies.
The adapt-or-die attitude is nothing new. A little more than a year ago Decatur-Avondale Estates Patch wrote about the store's expansion of the garden department and emphasis on customer service. The story said:
In fact, the store recently expanded, buying the property next door to widen its thriving garden center, and sales have steadily increased for more than a decade, said store co-founder Dave Jones.
He knows the secret to success, and he’s willing to share it.
“Service is our priority,” said Jones. “You go to a lot of places and they’ve got stuff. But at our store, we have employees who will tell you everything you want to know about an item. And we’ll treat you the same if you’re spending $15 or $1,500.”
Meanwhile, the store is hoping Walmart keeps its word and doesn't start a gardening department at the store planned at Suburban Plaza.