Oneonta Discount Building Supply Undergoes Reset


Sometimes investing in your business can pay off in unexpected ways. Rodney Gray can speak from experience.

Gray, who operates Oneonta Discount Building Supply in Oneonta, Ala., with his wife, Kathy, felt it was time to give his business a little boost. The store wasn’t struggling, but he knew there was room for improvement.

“We learned an Ace store was closing in town, so we wanted to capitalize on that opportunity,” Rodney explains. “Then we learned another Ace store was coming in, so we’re glad we took steps to improve our business. We needed to broaden our lines.”

The Grays talked to David Helfenberger and Taylor Hasson about their options last fall. They quickly determined a reset made sense. “We didn’t want to add a ton of items, but we were able to gain some space which made room for some additional items,” Rodney says.

The reset, which took place in January, involved moving about two-thirds of the gondolas on the 4,800-square-foot salesfloor. Moved a lot of gondolas, probably two-thirds of the gondolas were moved around. Departments didn’t change, but everything got a new look and was refreshed.

They were very impressed with the House-Hasson reset crew, which wasn’t even slowed down by an ice and snow storm.  “We have deeper assortments in core categories, so we’re able to meet more of our customers’ needs,” Rodney says.

The Grays added flooring and tile as a new category and they have already expanded that. “It’s growing nicely for us,” Rodney says. Rental was added two years ago and that’s been a real good addition, helping to drive incremental business.

Since the reset customers have been pleased with the store’s fresh look and have even commented that the store looks bigger. The sales mix is 65 percent pro, but Rodney has noticed more homeowner traffic since the reset. “Our transactions are up slightly since the reset, so that’s a good trend,” he says.

The Grays opened Oneonta Discount Building Supply in 1996 with partners, Robert and Carolyn Walker, who own Discount Building Supply in nearby Guntersville, Ala., where Rodney used to work. Rodney also spent time working in the wholesale industry. The Grays purchased the business outright in 2008. “It was the right timing. I knew the industry and we were confident we could be successful,” he says.

They had been buying from Moore-Handley when House-Hasson purchased the company, so they gave them a try. “We didn’t know what we were missing before with product. It’s been a good fit and we’re thrilled to have so many more products available to us,” Rodney says.

“Our sales rep, David Eaton, came from Moore-Handley, and he’s been great for. Anyone you talk to from House-Hasson is very customer-service oriented,” Rodney says.

They have been selling Gray Seal paint since switching to House-Hasson and like how that product line has been received by customers, especially females.

Plumbing and roofing are top sellers, as are millwork and molding. The store supplies water heaters to the utility company.

They are looking at the customized circular program and will probably do something with that down the road. Although they currently have a website, they have been talking to Taylor Hasson about the benefits of House-Hasson’s new dealer website program.

With a new hardware store opening in town as competition, the Grays decided to adopt the Priced Right Everyday! ® program. “We use House-Hasson’s suggested pricing for the most part, but adjust as necessary.  We know it’s important to promote the Priced Right Everyday!® image,” Rodney says.

They usually attend two shows each year. As Rodney explains, “We like seeing the new items and the deals at the Bonus Buy Breakfasts are very attractive.”

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