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Artwork That Honors

At Bear Hardware, what started out as a small idea turned into a giant artwork tribute to the owner’s brother and other U.S. veterans. Owner Curt Scroggins had always wanted to have an American flag painted on the roof of the store in Nashville, Indiana, and thanks to artist Adam Long, that wish came true.

“We met Adam and began talking to him about the project, and the longer we talked, the bigger the project got,” Curt says. “We wanted it to be a big deal and make a statement that shows we are patriotic. It also honors the artistic community we are a part of here in Brown County, Indiana.”

The new flag mural, which covers the store’s 10,200-square-foot roof, includes a painting of a large bear, which pays homage to Curt’s brother. Barry, who went by the nickname Bear, was killed in 1991 when he interrupted a burglary in his home. Curt purchased Cook’s Hardware in 1999 and renamed the store Bear Hardware in memory of his brother.

“Barry served in the U.S. National Guard,” Curt says. “So the mural is a tribute to him and all U.S. veterans.”

Fashion Forward Hardware

Stepping outside the normal categories for a hardware store, Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware of The Woodlands in The Woodlands, Texas, features a highly successful gift, jewelry and clothing department.

When owner Dorothy Alspaugh purchased the business in 2012, the gift department was the seventh best performing department in the store. By 2013, it had an official name, Dorothy May’s by Alspaugh’s, and had jumped to the No. 2 selling department, experiencing a 76% increase in sales.

“The dramatic increase was great, but in hindsight, we probably grew too quickly. We had a lot of backstock that led to dead inventory and lots of markdowns,” Alspaugh says. “The way we operate now is much smarter. We know what is and is not selling to avoid tying up space and dollars on the salesfloor.”

Within the department, jewelry, candles and handbags are the top selling products. Alspaugh says she has found success in the department by bringing in product lines that fit a broader range of ages and carrying a variety of items within each product line so there’s a price point for everyone.

“I believe it’s important to have lines that are well-branded and already have an established visual image,” Alspaugh says. “I’m constantly traveling to markets and communicating with our sales reps to stay on top of social trends for all age categories. Whether they are buying a hostess gift or a special occasion gift for a loved one, we want our customers to leave completely satisfied with their purchase.”

Store Dog Inspires Canine-Themed Section on Website

Capturing the hearts of customers near and far, Coconut serves as official store dog and customer greeter for San Diego Hardware in San Diego, and has inspired a canine-themed section on the store’s website. For more than six years, the Samoyed has been a presence at the family-owned business, entertaining guests and asking patrons for pats.

Coconut has gained a loyal following on the San Diego Hardware Instagram account, which led to the creation of Coconut’s Corner on the store’s website. The online shop features pup-approved decorative dog-themed cabinet and drawer hardware, dog collars, pet bowls, dog beach day kits and unique dog toys.

“Everyone loves Coconut. She’s practically the store mascot,” says Hannah Haynsworth, San Diego Hardware manager and Coconut’s owner. “She’s bringing in many new shoppers and families from our community who want to meet her and shake her paw.”

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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