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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default In Vermont, small shops beat Home Depot in customer battle

    BRATTLEBORO - When a Home Depot set up shop across the street, Fireside True Value hardware store owner Wayne St. John knew it would probably take some of his customers away.

    He and his brothers, who've operated their store for 35 years, had heard the stories about big-box stores and their low prices driving competitors into the ground.

    So the store stuck to what it does best - good customer service, competitive prices, and a willingness to stock the hard-to-find parts that folks never seemed to find at the big building with the orange roof.

    Four years later, it's Fireside True Value that's still standing.

    "I've had a lot of customers come in and say 'You guys put them under,' " said St. John.

    In truth, many factors played a role in the closing of Home Depot store No. 4552 and in the Atlanta-based home improvement giant's decision to close 14 other "underperforming" stores whose annual sales averaged about $11 million, far below the $36 million desired by the company.

    Among them: Opposition from grass-roots groups that succeed in stirring up boycotts and bad publicity even when they don't stop the stores from opening.

    "We've seen big-box stores defeated in over 200 communities in the last two years," said Stacy Mitchell, author of "Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses."

    "Campaigns are proliferating and even if they don't succeed, the public education they do often has a significant impact on people's shopping choices after the store opens," Mitchell said.

    In Brattleboro, an artsy southern Vermont town (pop. 11,741) known for its left-leaning sensibilities, Home Depot was a public enemy before it even opened the store in a former Ames department store 1 1/2 miles from downtown.

    Small by Home Depot standards at 60,000 square feet, it was sandwiched in between two other Home Depots - one across the river in Keene, N.H., the other in nearby Greenfield, Mass. - both within a 30-minute drive.

    BrattPower, a citizens' group, fought to keep the home improvement retailer out, saying its bargain prices and sheer size would siphon business from local businesses.

    "This is not an orange-blooded town," said Al Norman, an antisprawl activist who has spearheaded campaigns against Wal-Mart and Home Depot in dozens of communities.

    "Yes, it's a bad housing market. Yes, it was a bad location. Yes, it was a small location. But it was also in hostile territory."

    Loyalty to existing businesses also played a role.

    Brown & Roberts, a family-operated Ace Hardware store downtown beloved by locals for its creaky wooden floors, peg-board displays, and attentive personal service, couldn't compete with Home Depot's prices on some products, but many customers continued going there anyway.

    "That first year, business was flat," said manager Paul Putnam, 59, who runs it along with seven other family members.

    "We haven't had a banner year in their four years here, but we've managed to make it. Good customer service, having friendly, knowledgeable employees, that's always been our strong point."

    Neither store changed its merchandising strategy or price structure to compete with the new store in town, believing that customers would stick with them. For the most part, they did.

    Home Depot spokeswoman Jean Niemi wouldn't comment on the common traits shared by the towns where the stores will be closed. She said the lackluster sales were the bottom line.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk fast98dodge's Avatar
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    As an employee of a "Mom and Pop" appliance store, I say...

    WAY TO GO!!!

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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk jrk5150's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 09:56 AM
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    Not a surprise that it could happen in VT. If price is all you worry about, you live across the border in NH, where there's no state income tax, and, while hard to believe, a lower property tax rate. VT is an expensive state to live in - they put their money where their beliefs are, I'll give them credit for that.

  4. #4
    Good Enough pal1800's Avatar
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    I like the option of having both. There are times I'd much rather hit the local ACE hardware and others where I feel I can get what I need at Home Depot. No need to DEMONIZE for me. I'll let the left loons handle that. As long as they are relevant and provide a good service that people want, then they will be around. When you cease to be relevant, then you're done. The company that used to make rotary phones had to do something different or go out of buissness. SIMPLE!

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 05:57 AM
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    Way to go!

    Damn the man!
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

    www.geocaching.com - The site where you are the search engine.

  6. #6
    Future's in the past....
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    That's cool. I try to give any business I can to locally owned stores if I can. Walk into our local Ace and there is always someone there more than willing to help you find that odd piece for you, good folks.
    11/05/78 Hollywood Sportatorium
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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk Viking's Avatar
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    12.14.17 @ 03:26 PM
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    Our local Ace store has started stocking things like speaker wire, and home theater supplies. It's nice not to have to make a 20-30 mile round trip to get a $3 'Y' connector.
    "Viking - last to sleep, first to rise, last to leave, that's how the Nords of old rocked the house." ~ timmac in the 'Texas Linkers' thread talking about yours truly. :-)

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    I went 46" / 1080P shopping this past weekend... Saturday night Sears declined my $1700 purchase using my rental property LLC checking account with a balance of well over 10k... OK... Came back the next day with my personal checkbook and tried buying the same TV, declined... WTF?!!

    I was pissed, and went to Best Buy 40 minutes away... Picked out another TV different from the one I selected at Sears... Ran the check through and guess what, DECLINED... However the fuckers would gladly let me leave with the TV if I filled out a Best Buy finance/credit card app... Fuck that... These guys claimed my bank declined the amount.... I was like WTF!!! There's over 80k in that checking account you asshole!

    So I went to the bank on Monday, asked them WTF was going on... They pulled up my accounts and there were NO signs of any attempt by Sears or Best Buy to access monies from my checking accounts... Fuck these Big Box assholes...

    Went to the local mom and pop store on Tuesday, picked the same fucking TV as the one I selected at Best Buy, and they beat the price by $50 and didn't even try to sell me a 4 year service plan... and they took my check without thinking twice...

    So, while I was there, I bought a new washing machine for the rental unit I just finished... Fuck Sears too...

    Needless to say, PLEASE give your local guy a chance to accept your local money/business and have it used locally in return... Rather than some nameless corporate entity...

    Death To Big Box Stores!
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  9. #9
    Baluchitherium Ted Van Halen's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 09:34 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    I went 46" / 1080P shopping this past weekend... Saturday night Sears declined my $1700 purchase using my rental property LLC checking account with a balance of well over 10k... OK... Came back the next day with my personal checkbook and tried buying the same TV, declined... WTF?!!

    I was pissed, and went to Best Buy 40 minutes away... Picked out another TV different from the one I selected at Sears... Ran the check through and guess what, DECLINED... However the fuckers would gladly let me leave with the TV if I filled out a Best Buy finance/credit card app... Fuck that... These guys claimed my bank declined the amount.... I was like WTF!!! There's over 80k in that checking account you asshole!

    So I went to the bank on Monday, asked them WTF was going on... They pulled up my accounts and there were NO signs of any attempt by Sears or Best Buy to access monies from my checking accounts... Fuck these Big Box assholes...

    Went to the local mom and pop store on Tuesday, picked the same fucking TV as the one I selected at Best Buy, and they beat the price by $50 and didn't even try to sell me a 4 year service plan... and they took my check without thinking twice...

    So, while I was there, I bought a new washing machine for the rental unit I just finished... Fuck Sears too...

    Needless to say, PLEASE give your local guy a chance to accept your local money/business and have it used locally in return... Rather than some nameless corporate entity...

    Death To Big Box Stores!
    I shopped Sears & Lowe's for our appliances when we built. Neither of which had sales people w/ a clue about what they were selling. On a whim I stopped by a little hole in the wall Mom & Pop store where the owner spent a couple hours w/ me deciding what best fit our needs & budget. When all was said & done, I had all the appliances bought from a local storel with a savings on the whole package of around $300 AND they threw in a garbage disposal for free. But it doesn't stop there. They stored them until the house was finished for free. Sears & Lowe's wanted no part of that but would for a monthly fee.

    I used to be all in favor of getting to the big box store for what I needed. I use them as a last resort now. Even if it does cost a little more to use my local guy, I know that my $'s are supporting a guy I know & that if if I'm in a pinch & need something but can't get there before closing time, I can call & he'll bring it by on his way home. And he'll ask if I need a hand with it before he leaves.
    -TVH-


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  10. #10
    Future's in the past....
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Van Halen View Post
    I shopped Sears & Lowe's for our appliances when we built. Neither of which had sales people w/ a clue about what they were selling. On a whim I stopped by a little hole in the wall Mom & Pop store where the owner spent a couple hours w/ me deciding what best fit our needs & budget. When all was said & done, I had all the appliances bought from a local storel with a savings on the whole package of around $300 AND they threw in a garbage disposal for free. But it doesn't stop there. They stored them until the house was finished for free. Sears & Lowe's wanted no part of that but would for a monthly fee.

    I used to be all in favor of getting to the big box store for what I needed. I use them as a last resort now. Even if it does cost a little more to use my local guy, I know that my $'s are supporting a guy I know & that if if I'm in a pinch & need something but can't get there before closing time, I can call & he'll bring it by on his way home. And he'll ask if I need a hand with it before he leaves.
    We have a little Mom & Pop owned Sears store in Palm Coast that I use quite frequently. I know, its still Sears, but I feel better about buying from a place where some of the money stays local. They have done nothing but good for me from the first day I walked in the door and are a whole lot more knowledgable (and friendly) than the flunkies at the big box places.
    11/05/78 Hollywood Sportatorium
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  11. #11
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Van Halen View Post
    I shopped Sears & Lowe's for our appliances when we built. Neither of which had sales people w/ a clue about what they were selling. On a whim I stopped by a little hole in the wall Mom & Pop store where the owner spent a couple hours w/ me deciding what best fit our needs & budget. When all was said & done, I had all the appliances bought from a local storel with a savings on the whole package of around $300 AND they threw in a garbage disposal for free. But it doesn't stop there. They stored them until the house was finished for free. Sears & Lowe's wanted no part of that but would for a monthly fee.

    I used to be all in favor of getting to the big box store for what I needed. I use them as a last resort now. Even if it does cost a little more to use my local guy, I know that my $'s are supporting a guy I know & that if if I'm in a pinch & need something but can't get there before closing time, I can call & he'll bring it by on his way home. And he'll ask if I need a hand with it before he leaves.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  12. #12
    Baluchitherium Ted Van Halen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanHalenRules View Post
    We have a little Mom & Pop owned Sears store in Palm Coast that I use quite frequently. I know, its still Sears, but I feel better about buying from a place where some of the money stays local. They have done nothing but good for me from the first day I walked in the door and are a whole lot more knowledgable (and friendly) than the flunkies at the big box places.
    I think I may have unfairly lumped Sears in w/ the others I guess. The sales guy at that store that day didn't know squat though. But, any hand tools I buy now generally are Craftsman simply because the entry level stuff is excellent quality for a schmuck like me that isn't makin' a living w/ them anymore and they're still made in the USA (I think).
    -TVH-


    If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. -Thomas Paine


    What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? - James Madison


    Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian. - Henry Ford

 

 

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