The other day a customer came into my store, he asked if I sold Johnson Levels, he needed a bigger one.. so of course I had to ask "how big is your Johnson?"
Now, owning a Hardware store and being female does give a whole new spin on this question and countless others, as I'm sure you might imagine. The customer, holding his Johnson (level) in his hand turned several shades of red and busted out laughing... although I'm sure it was because the smile that I was trying so very hard to hide was just spreading across my face uncontrollably.
I just entered my 4th year in business. I am a startup. Originally opened in a small space (abt 900sq ft) to accomadate our Roofing company (Hansen Roofing and Construction) offices. Realized about a week after signing the lease that it was too big for our office needs and came up with a Hardware Store idea.
I knew that we could become more competitive if we bought from ourselves at wholesale prices. Hansen Hardware was born. I tapped all things personally financial and I had suppliers and store stocked in about three weeks.
With such a small space, the store took over the Construction company space which is really just as well since a year and half into it, the construction boom started to end and it hit us hard in that company.
This past August, we celebrated our 3rd year in business and are barely making our 4th year start with a bang. We moved to a corner building with 3600sq.ft. right around the corner from our original store.
So now we struggle across the board. Constantly trying to find resources to continue our growth, which is nearly impossible with what's going on in the economy now, all the while trying to keep afloat on all our personal financial guarantees.
I've thought about closing up shop and selling it all, except after we opened our new space, someone came in and said, "wow, you have really come a long way from around the corner, you got some set of ba**s, for a girl" and I thought what an oxymoron... A long way from around the corner.. Most would have stayed around the corner. It was small. Comfortable. Regular customers. Easy to keep an eye on my kids, I have 3 girls; 7, 4 & 2.
But where I was originally calling myself insane for taking such a chance, I then saw myself as having what I tell my girls to have; Guts to try what you want...fear nothing... except not trying.
We're known as the HardwareGirls; customers walk into my store and see my 2yr old with my DeWalt Cordless Drill and at first they think it's a toy.. until they hear her drilling screws into the plywood on the floor (which is setup especially for them). It totally freaks people out... My 7yr old (who has Cerebral Palsy) can, in spite of idiot doctors who told her otherwise, hold a hammer and bang nails and plans on building buildings one day and my 4yr old is a minnie me. She has no fear and just does, usually with an injury in the end but she gets up and does it again!
I'm looking for additional capital, so if anyone might know of a non-traditional source for about 50k, let me know.
That's my story, hope someone enjoyed it a bit. And remember, plumb bobs are essential in carpentry!