How has a small independent hardware store been able to not just thrive but expand in an era when even big-box home stores like Lowe's and Home Depot are closing locations? "It's all about wanting to help the customer and the ability to help the customer, and the customer knows when they come in they're important," Hackbarth says. "If you're coming in and you're buying a part and you need a piece soldered, sometimes we'll go back there [to the store's workshop] and solder for it for you. If you got a bunch of stuff you need to solder and you've never soldered before, we'll show you how to solder. If it's something where there's alternatives, we'll walk you through a couple of different alternatives.
"If you need to know how to do something, somebody in the store is going to know the information to get you there. I might not be me, it might not be Mike, it might not be Mark, but it's going to be somebody in the store. It might be another customer." For instance, he says, a plumber might be standing at the counter when a customer comes up with a plumbing question. Hackbarth might ask the plumber, "'Hey what's the plumbing code on this?' Our customers will chime in information for us on a regular basis.
"That's a wonderful part of it. You've got so many professional people in the building at any given point in time, not just the people we pay but thankfully the people who come in and pay us. It's a really nice community when you walk in."