Giving up on circulars, influencer contract template, Maui support chocolate bars, and pocket knives/flip flops a hit!

With members from around the country, we learned a lot about trends, challenges, and wins in hardware retail this month. The marketing team shared a lot of great insight about how Product Sync is going in their stores and the best team for the job (don’t forget about your Inventory Mgr!). The General Managers focused on which niche products that are performing well, which ones they’re considering getting into, and others that aren’t moving and should cause pause. We shared about placement of certain niches, height and length increases given to other niches, and how each of them performed before and after (for example, knife sharpening machines in service did not perform near as well as by the front counter).

Let’s dive in!


Key Takeaways

Marketing Mastermind Takeaways:

SEO, local bbq influencer partnerships, and multiple Google My Business pages were also highlighted as effective tools for enhancing online presence and customer engagement. Using Local Act was particularly impactful for unique high-ticket non-Ace products like Stihl.

Lots of stores do round-ups year-round, and we talked about how you can customize CMN chocolate bars to go to the charity of your choice. This month, many stores are using it to donate to the Red Cross to support the Maui fire victims. Product Sync was back! We talked about specific SKUs that were challenging, but in the end, came around to the importance of this tool for customers and our teams alike. Eric brought up the importance of empowering the marketing team with trust and a dedicated budget to experiment, report back, and fine-tune strategies. It allows him to get more creative with tactics and avoid generic content. This could be a great tool for folks trying to break into a new community!

Being able to make connections with local influencers or small businesses is a great way to drum up excitement around the brand and the store. Here’s Mountain Mojo’s link to their Influencer Contract Template. Use and tweak as you see fit! We also talked about how and when to outsource things like graphic design. Being able to stick all your grilling events on one poster saves time and money if you do it right!


    • Local partnerships and micro-influencers
    • Never underestimate the power of a good poster!
    • Digital circulars winning over print
    • Create separate entities that can use Google pages for each business (but be wary of Google’s rules!)
    • Marketing Team + Inventory Lead = Product Sync Success
    • Customize your round-up chocolate bars
    • Use Local Act for Unique and High Ticket Items

General Managers Mastermind Takeaways:

Topics ranged from product surprises to sales strategies. The team discussed the pros and cons of niche items like pickleball and branded apparel while spotlighting successful items such as spices, sunglasses, and disc golf. Some learned that you need to “go all in or go all out” with certain lines. For example, spending money on a few choice Carhart items fell flat for Owenhouse, but when they go all in on a brand or line, they see more sales. Never underestimate the power of placement. By moving their knife sharpener to a higher traffic area, one store’s knife count jumped from a few dozen to 400+ every month. Challenges with certain products like patio furniture were acknowledged; we speculated that people may already have all the patio furniture they need—go figure!

The importance of vendor engagement for successful demos and employee involvement was emphasized. The more supportive the vendor, the more demos you’ll get and the more products you can sell. If they’re newer products, they’re more likely to be involved. Traeger has a reputation for participating in demos in the past. Have you had a great experience with vendors? Let us know!

The engagement extends to the team! If your team loves a product (a spice rub, a cast iron, a pocket knife), they’ll talk it up to your customers. Give your team samples to take home and play around with so they really know the product!

  • Hillman knife sharpener break even is 40 sharpeners
  • Utilize high-traffic areas for knife sharpening machines: it’s as much entertainment as much as utilitarian
  • Get your vendor excited and engaged
  • Send your team home with spices!
  • Ace store? Check out the Christmas light celebration reels — great deals!
  • Patio furniture moving slowly
  • Pocket knives + fishing = easy buy for customers


Join Us on September 27th for our Next Mastermind

This month is different!  We normally would have our mastermind on the third Wednesday of every month, but the Ace Convention is on the 20th of September. You’ll be there, we’ll be there, and we can chat in person.

For September, we’ll bring back all four groups: marketing, GMS, owners, and B2B. 

Need help signing up? Send us an email:

Are You On Board?

Does the idea of a monthly meet-up with other hardware stores sound valuable to you? Are you interested in sharing resources, asking questions, and participating with your peers on-demand with an exclusive slack channel?

Join the Hardware Innovators!

Learn more about us here.