VIEW FROM ABROAD THE
A leading ACE hardware retailer in the US, Gina Schaefer, has grown her company from one to nine units in a nine-year period. She now leads a multi-million dollar small business that employs 175 people in communities in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Here she provides some insights into running and growing a hardware business in the US
GROWING A HARDWARE BUSINESS – THE AMERICAN WAY My business started with one location and fairly quickly grew to nine. We managed that growth by playing on the strengths of our culture. By promoting from within and promoting people who best exemplified the values we wanted to portray, we have been able to grow the company while growing the culture in multiple locations. Those values couldn’t just come from the very top though - as with many of
our programmes, procedures, etc, we gathered our managers and assistant managers and back office team and asked them what THEY thought we exemplified. We hired a business coach to take us through exercises that helped us discuss and ultimately decide on nine core values we live by. Those values are – • be helpful; • be a good neighbour; • create raving fans (customers who
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absolutely LOVE us, who shout to the internet world how great we are, write us wonderful compliments in emails, shop continuously with us and/or and bring out-of-town friends in to meet us) be vibrant and enthusiastic; be an awesome team member; communicate respectfully; always grow and share; embrace and drive change; and, be nice.
Gina and her team have been creative in choosing locations and making a distinctive ‘space’ for each store.
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