Jarvis Hardware Gives Community a New Store to Support

House-Hasson helped them plan the assortment and did the complete store set, a process that went very smoothly

When Johnny and Candi Graves decided to take the plunge and open a second store, they were placing their faith in House-Hasson as much as in themselves. It was their House-Hasson sales rep, Gary Keck, who had told them about the opportunity and convinced them it was a risk worth taking.

So the Graves went ahead and opened Jarvis Hardware in Montgomery, W. Va., this past November. The town that had once been home to three hardware stores was in need of an entrepreneur willing to take another chance, since all three stores had come and gone. “We just felt the area needed a hardware store,” Johnny says.

A few years ago when Candi’s father was ready to retire after 27 years of operating Jarvis Hardware in nearby Gauley Bridge, W. Va., Johnny and Candi had agreed to take over the business. But Johnny had kept his factory job to make sure they kept a steady income. The new store meant he could quit his factory job and devote his full attention to making their hardware business a success.

Although a hardware store had gone out of business in the Montgomery location, Keck found the building was available for a reasonable rent and thought it would make a good opportunity for the Graves to expand to a second location, since it was just 10 miles from their other store in Gauley Bridge. “I felt strongly that Johnny and Candi could make it work,” he says.

So far, so good, as they see new customers come into the store every day. “We have been very pleased with the response we’ve gotten so far. It’s been well-received by customers,” says Johnny, who adds that they even had customers coming in before they were officially open, so they knew they were meeting a need.

House-Hasson helped them plan the assortment and did the complete store set, a process that went very smoothly, according to the Graves. “Gary has been a big help. He’s always taken care of our needs,” Johnny adds.

They continue to tweak their product selection a little as they see what products customers are seeking. Plumbing and electrical have emerged as the top-selling categories. “We hope paint can be a draw, since we put in a full line of Gray Seal paint,” says Candi.

For now, they are only using one half of the building covering about 2,000 square feet of salesfloor space plus a small warehouse. “We hope to grow into the other side eventually, but right now we’re out of room,” says Johnny, who would like the additional space to expand into pool chemicals and lumber.

Sporting goods and bait are big sellers at Gauley Bridge, and there is an expectation those categories can develop into strong traffic-building niches at the new store. A convenience assortment of hunting and fishing equipment is currently in the inventory.

The Gauley Bridge store has a 7,000-square-foot salesfloor. The Graves have been able to maintain sales in that store despite the down economy, so they take that as a positive sign for business out of the Montgomery store.

The new location is on a heavily traveled road, so that’s another plus.”We’re getting ready to do some advertising to let more customers know we’re here,” says Candi, who spends most of her time at the Gauley Bridge location.

House-Hasson has also helped them with pricing, and they have heard lot of good comments about how reasonable their prices are. “The nearest big boxes are 30 miles away, although the high price of gas means customers are less likely to get in their car and drive to buy what they need if they can get it from us,” Johnny says.

They enjoy going to the markets, finding them a beneficial way to improve their business from attending the seminars, interacting with other dealers and taking advantage of bargains.

“We also like using the CD Toolbox. It’s very easy to use,” Johnny says.

Looking back at all the hard work it took to get the store open, the Graves say they are glad they found a reliable partner in House-Hasson. “Beverly Perry and everyone in customer service have been great. You can call up and they always take care of any problem you have,” Johnny says. It’s easy to do business with House-Hasson.”

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