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Gow's Home Hardware

Community Lays Foundation for Success at Gow’s Home Hardware & Furniture

For Gow’s Home Hardware & Furniture in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, the secret to the company’s 176-year success lies in building relationships with customers and the community. Owner Amanda Fancy says first and foremost, she wants customers to feel like they are part of the family. The other key part is connecting with the community. 

“Between online retailers and big-box stores, there is so much competition out there, so we really strive to make that connection with the customer,” Amanda says. “For us, giving back to the community is another way to connect with the customers we appreciate so much.” 

Gow’s Home Hardware & Furniture, which was founded in 1848, serves the 9,500 residents of Bridgewater plus around 50,000 residents in the surrounding communities. Innovation has always been top of mind for the operation, thanks to the mindset of Home Hardware co-founder Walter Hachborn, who told dealer-owners that if they were standing still, they were falling behind.

The store has been in five locations, with the last move occurring in 2019 when the store moved from a 30,000-square-foot building to its current location, a 60,000-square-foot store. Amanda says anytime they make a change, they want to be sure it best meets the needs of customers and the dynamic retail market. 

Top performing categories for the store include furniture, appliances, paint, outdoor power equipment and seasonal. Eco-friendly products have also done well, Amanda says, appealing to customers wanting everything from energy efficient appliances to eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Locally made products, including candles and coffee, are also another niche where Gow’s Home Hardware & Furniture has found success. 

“We understand the home improvement industry and we understand what’s involved in DIY projects, so we want to make those experiences as positive and seamless for the customer as possible,” Amanda says. “We want to make the whole experience—from the first time a customer steps into the door to when they complete their project—to be as enjoyable as possible.” 

The Secrets to Success

Beyond projects and products, Amanda says she wants Gow’s Home Hardware & Furniture to continue to be known as a gathering place for the community to exchange ideas, share advice and find inspiration for future projects. 

“The reason we’re successful is because of our community, and we believe in giving back and supporting the neighbors who have supported us for so many years,” Amanda says. “Community involvement isn’t just a checkbox for us, it’s the heart of everything we do.”

That community involvement looks like collaborating with local organizations for events like cleanup initiatives and barbecues and sponsoring local events, teams and organizations.

“We’re always there and want to make sure that we’re at the forefront to help when there’s a hand in need,” she says. 

Building those relationships with the community and customers wouldn’t be possible without the engaged and dedicated employees at Gow’s Home Hardware & Furniture, Amanda says. 

“Our employees are the reason we’re successful,” she says. “We’re very fortunate because we have a great employee base that is committed to providing exceptional service, which we’ve achieved thanks to fostering a culture that empowers, engages and motivates.”

As Amanda looks toward what’s next for Gow’s Home Hardware & Furniture and the next milestone anniversary, she wants to simply continue doing what has led to the operation’s success. 

“People are looking for stability and consistency, and we want to be that to our neighbors and our community partners,” Amanda says. “We want to continue to enhance the customer experience and expand product selection based on the evolving expectations of the customer and keep persevering in our community.”

Read more about other retailers with benchmark anniversaries in our Milestones section.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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