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On the Road: NHPA Tours Stores in Copenhagen

Representatives for the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) are taking the association on the road—in stores and on industry show floors in the U.S. and Canada, and even further abroad.

NHPA chief operating officer and publisher Dan Tratensek recently completed a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he attended the 2022 Global DIY Summit. He also toured Danish home improvement stores that ranged from discount consumer-focused operations to 24-hour-a-day lumberyards. Continue reading to learn more about these store visits.

A leading Danish DIY-focused chain that operates stores throughout the country.

While Silvan’s 42 shops are located in both urban and suburban areas, the retailer’s focus for growth is on its urban store formats. The urban locations, like the one Tratensek toured in the heart of Copenhagen, focus on providing urban dwellers with everything they might need to make their homes comfortable. The stores even offer bicycles with a large basket in the front for customers to use and ferry products to and from their homes.

At roughly 1,000 square meters, this downtown store location offers everything from live plants to lightbulbs and offers about 6,000 SKUs of products. The two-level structure is located in a historic building with a large sign inside the entrance sharing the building’s history and a large map outlining the store’s layout.

Stark City 24-7Stark City 24-7
A lumber dealer that caters to Copenhagen’s professional contractors and tradespeople.

Stark is a 125-year-old company with 485 branches throughout Northern Europe. In 2021, the operation made more than $5 billion in sales.
One of Stark’s most unique features is that it is open

24 hours a day, seven days a week, to meet the needs of the market’s contractors who often want to start their days early.

The Copenhagen location Tratensek toured offers a full-service outdoor lumber facility and products located under a covered, drive-through area for easy picking and loading.

In addition to its full slate of building materials and lumber, the salesfloor offers everything from a wide selection of power tools and accessories to plumbing supplies, paint, workwear, shoes and safety gear. The salesfloor also includes a small flooring and kitchen and bath showroom.

Stark also offers its customers unique features like the ability to rent one of its tool vans. The van is fully stocked with a range of tools and customers can rent it for the day. Stark will even drop off at job sites a fastener box that comes completely stocked with fasteners to meet almost any need.

jem & fixJem & Fix
Denmark’s low-cost leader for supplying hardware and building products to contractors, tradespeople and the public.

Jem & Fix is a family-owned company with more than 124 stores in Denmark, 59 stores in Sweden and 11 in Norway. The store’s brand is built around its no-frills merchandising. It rarely offers promotions and does not offer a loyalty program. At Jem & Fix, price is the primary driver to capture customers.

The store features a broad selection of lumber and building materials as well as lawn and garden and outdoor living products. Customers can also find paint, plumbing, hardware tools and more.

Carl RasCarl Ras
A third-generation, family-owned chain of pro-focused hardware stores with locations throughout Denmark.

Carl Ras’ 19 stores focus on selection and service, and the location Tratensek visited in Copenhagen is a gleaming example of high-performance retailing. In addition to an assortment of brands carried by the stores, Carl Ras features its own private-label tools and products.

Roughly 50% of Carl Ras’ sales are delivered directly to end users from its on-site warehouse. To keep up with this type of volume, Carl Ras has created a state-of-the-art warehouse with a sophisticated order processing and fulfillment system.

One of the tools it has implemented is a robot order picking system, which like the ones found at Amazon, uses a series of robots that run along a gridded track system to sort, pick and combine products into customer shipments.

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About Julie Leinwand

Julie Leinwand is the Special Projects Manager for NHPA. She graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys baking fanciful desserts and spending time with her puppies and husband.

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