How can the little box store compete in a world of the Wal-Mart’s and Home Depots? Does the little box store actually have some advantages?
Rick Hoekstra, President of Kitchen Ideas Center, and other small business owners were asked about what advantages a customer can expect from the little box stores.
Experience Working For You
“Many smaller businesses that specialize in home products for remodeling or building are locally-owned and operated,” according to Hoekstra. “Smaller businesses also tend to have more experienced staff familiar with specific products and services. This will help to assure you that the products you are purchasing are appropriate for your project. Well trained-industry professionals can also save you time.”
Having knowledgeable, experienced professionals available to answer your questions – whether easy or difficult questions – will help you complete any project. Experts in smaller stores understand the various products and options available on the market. This will greatly save you time, eliminating the task of looking through hundreds, if not thousands of choices!
Planning The Present — Protecting The Future
If your project involves a kitchen remodel, Chuck Weidenbach, design specialist at Kitchen Idea Center, recommends that you schedule a time with the designer in order to get personal attention. “Beyond the personal attention and industry expertise, you can expect smaller companies to have better warranty and problem solving services in place. It is important when purchasing a product that consumers understand the associated drawbacks, as well as the positives. If you hear words like ‘never needs service’ or ‘indestructible’ you can assume you may not be hearing the entire story,” cautions Weidenbach.
In addition to design, sales, and warranty expertise, many small showrooms provide expert installation services. Most or all of the labor provided for the installation is done by store employees or contractors with long-term relationships who have a vested interest in making you a satisfied customer.
Time Is Money
“We have occasionally worked with clients who either are stuck with a product from a big box store, or who needs to do some comparative price shopping,” notes Chad Speight, of Chad’s Carpentry Inc. “They assume they are saving money by purchasing the product at the big box stores. However, sometimes these experiences can be disappointing. Inferior quality products take much longer to install, which adds labor costs; and the homeowner is still stuck with inferior or undesirable products.”
Time can also become a factor if you have an issue with a product that you purchased from a large box store. Larger stores have many clients. This means that they have to service possibly hundreds of customers, unlike the smaller stores that are service-driven. Additionally, sometimes the larger stores outsource service to contractors that may be primarily price-driven. This might result in you paying more for a product to be fixed!
The Bottom Line
Smaller stores have a distinct advantage when you start moving up the quality ladder to mid–range or higher end products. Smaller stores also present the latest trends and will typically have access to a larger selection of products, name brands, and styles. Generally speaking, next time you are looking to remodel or build, look to your locally owned showrooms to provide expertise, knowledge, quality product selection and a commitment to customer service not available with the typical Big Box option.