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Kabelin Ace Gets Creative With Engraving

At Kabelin Ace Hardware, customers can get a gift that is truly one of a kind. A new laser engraver allows customers to put their own messages or images on a variety of gift items, including picture frames, mugs, cutting boards, pens and even dog tags.

Kabelin Ace includes seven locations in northern Indiana. Two of those locations, in La Porte West and Michigan City, have extensive gift departments with a wide selection of items from a variety of vendors, including Hallmark. They’ve become a destination for customers searching for gift products.

The laser engraver, which was supplied by giftware vendor P. Graham Dunn, has boosted the department’s popularity up another notch.

It is set up in a self-serve kiosk with inviting signage and easy-to-read instructions. Customers choose the product they want to engrave, set the machine to work and can leave with their creation in just a few minutes.

Janet McCoy, a member of the Kabelin’s management team, says currently the engraver can only be used on items from P. Graham Dunn sold in the store. That means the store gets a good margin on the sale of gift items as well as the use of the engraving service.

“What is great about this machine is that customers make the designs themselves,” says McCoy. “We live in a small town, and there’s nothing in this area that even comes close in giving customers the ability to do this. One of our best-selling items is our wooden frames. People can personalize them by putting graduation or wedding dates, for example, on the frame and make it their own. The vendor, P. Graham Dunn, gave us a beautiful setup that is very hands-on for the customer.”

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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