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Hosting Community Events Unites the Community

In the June 2016 issue of Hardware Retailing magazine, we shared stories from five retailers about how they serve their communities. The retailers provided so much information and countless examples of how they are involved in their communities that we could not fit it all in the magazine, so we have provided the extra content below. To read more about community events, click here.

Supporting the Bigger Issue

For John Locke, owner of Orillia Home Hardware Building Centre in Orillia, Ontario, one of his store’s biggest initiatives is ending hunger, and his business is striving to do so in a variety of unique ways, including an event that he hosts each November called Join Hands to End Hunger.

The store has attendees stand in the parking lot and join hands. For each person in attendance, the store donates $1 toward the local food bank.

“This past November, we had 2,500 people join hands at noon, so we gave the food bank a check for $2,500,” Locke says.

The concept is to give up the lunch hour and help in the fight against hunger. The event is expanding, too. This past November, 300 school kids joined the event and walked over from their 6th grade class.

To encourage more people to attend, Locke calls all of the people who have received a donation from the store in the past, requesting that they come support the event and stand in the parking lot for one hour.

“It’s turning out to be such a wonderful thing and it’s so easy,” Locke says. “I’d like to see it in every Home Hardware across Canada at noon on a certain day. It would be awesome. How much could we raise if all of the stores did that? All you’re asking people to do is come to the store’s parking lot for one hour and join hands.”

Events like this and others that the store puts on create ownership and unity within the community.

“When we run promotions and collect food, my customers come in and ask the question, ‘How much did WE raise?’ not, ‘How much did you raise John?” he says. “It’s, ‘How much did WE raise?’ because they are a part of it. It’s just beautiful.”

A New Look at Ladies’ Night Events

For both Locke and Tom Klaus, owner of Keck Hardware and Hobbies in Trenton, Michigan, hosting Ladies’ Night events are another great way to reach out to the community and welcome customers to the store to focus on more than sales.

Ladies’ night at Orillia Home Hardware Building Centre is always a huge success.

“This year, Keck Hardware hosted its first ever Ladies’ Night,” Klaus says. “We invited local professionals to come do paint demos, we had a plumber show some plumbing tips, we had a wine tasting and catered food for the attendees. All of the proceeds from the event went to breast cancer awareness.”

Klaus plans to host this event every August or September, as he says it’s a great way to gather customers and support charitable causes.

For Locke, the store began hosting a bi-annual Ladies’ Night in 2008, welcoming female customers to the store and giving back to the local food bank, which continues to support the business’s charitable mission.

“We have about 700 ladies in the store with prizes, vendors and we sponsor a charity each evening,” he says. “During the May event last year, we raised 3,500 pounds of food for the local food bank. We always try turn any event into something for the community.”

About Sara Logel

As NRHA’s market research analyst, Sara conducts organic research and stays abreast of industry trends to help hardware retailers better run their business. Sara also contributes to editorial content in Hardware Retailing magazine. Sara received her B.S. in Marketing and Spanish from Butler University and, after graduation, began her career with NRHA. Sara enjoys traveling, being outdoors and exploring the city of Indianapolis.

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