Volume 47, Issue 8 - October 2008

Secret
Shopper

Familiar Ground
Back in the Old Neighborhood
by Charles Cumpston

In today’s mega-store atmosphere, how can a small hardware store succeed? Like they always have: by focusing on their specific clientele and their needs.

That tried-and-true method looks to be working for Crest Hardware, described in the local press as a quasi institution located in Brooklyn, N.Y., not exactly the spot one would expect to find today’s cutting edge hardware emporium.

So in an area teeming with artists, many of whom are customers of the store, what did its owners do? Start an art show. The Crest Hardware art show, consists of pieces by local artists displayed in the store. But there wasn’t much “artistry” in the store the day I visited.

While the store and its employees were entirely functional, that was it. There was no extra effort by the store (in terms of cleanliness, effectiveness of display, etc.) or its employees (questions were answered in a friendly way but no additional effort to help was offered).

While product selection was limited, I am sure the store contained all the items that customers wanted when they came through the door.

My observation was that contractors got more personal attention than regular customers. My visit was on a Thursday morning and the store was not at all crowded, but I did observe that other ordinary customers were getting the same shopping experience I was (ask location of a product, told what aisle and location in the aisle it is) whereas the one contractor in the store (identified by the tee shirt) had an employee at his side.

Overall experience: Could have been any store any where and if you knew what to ask for, and you did, then you could get what you wanted.

However, bottom line, if I lived in the neighborhood, I’d be happy the store was there.


Shelter
© Copyright 2008 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.