These small hardware stores really seem to be making a comeback and I think it's great! They have found a way to create a niche and get access to customers disenchanted by the big boxes.
These same theories could be applied in competing with large lawn care operations as well.
Small hardware stores think outside (big) box - Sidwell explained his strategy for competing successfully in the hardware business with the likes of Home Depot and Lowe's, both of which operate home-improvement centers a few miles from his store.
"You have to find out what the people in the surrounding community need," he said. "Then you make it available and have everything set up so if a customer wants, they can get in and out of your store in five to 10 minutes."
Some are trying more radical approaches, such as offering products as diverse as pet merchandise.
When Bernard Marcus and Arthur Blank founded The Home Depot in 1978 they changed the face of America's hardware store business. Over the next few decades many hardware stores, some open for generations, faced new and formidable competitors in the form of giant home centers carrying upward of 50,000 items and offering "low day-in, day-out pricing."
Yet the notion that neighborhood hardware stores are an endangered species is flat-out wrong, said Scott Wright, spokesman for the North American Retail Hardware Association.