Ask the CEO
The following was excerpted from Success Magazine's interview with Bill MacDonald, founder and CEO of Warrenville Paint and Hardware.
How have you differentiated from the competition in terms of service, products, promotions and people?
Service: The biggest differentiation is that we let our customers know we are here to help them, happy to have them in our store, and we continually strive to make it pleasant and easy to do business with us. This makes us stand out from the larger big-box and department stores. We have sales associates who are knowledgeable in specialty areas and who are glad to help customers find what they are looking for. We know that it is not just the products we carry that keep customers happy, it's the friendly service they get from our helpful staff. We also have a well-stocked yard and warehouse for bulk and larger items. On many large items we offer product assembly and free delivery. Our paint color studio is unique from any store in New Jersey. Staffed with color experts, clients find the assurance they are looking for when trying to choose the right color for their project, large or small. The studio is stocked with brochures and reference books for ideas and inspiration. Any sample color can be mixed in a pint size tester, and 18'x18' pre-painted color samples can be purchased as well. In addition, we offer in-home color consultations with our experts for a small fee. Our focus on the basic tenets of customer service goes a long way toward differentiating us from the competition and increasing the value of someone's shopping experience.
Products: In addition to all the great products that people expect to find at their local paint and hardware store, we also stock many of the new green-friendly household products, gardening supplies and paints. We have gone above and beyond to create displays and educational spots to help customers understand the value of going green. Customers are sometimes leery of performance and sustainability of new products, so they appreciate our educational focus and knowledgeable staff to help them understand the benefits and features of new environmentally friendly products.
Place: Situated under giant American flags in the township's main intersection, Warrenville True Value Paint and Hardware maintains an active presence in the community. The store has undergone renovations doubling its original size and space and creating a store within a store for paint sales and a separate color studio where designers help clients select the right colors for their home, office, or business. It's easy to get to from Route 22 and Route 78, which is vital as we draw customers from all over New Jersey!
When a local firehouse, ironically had a major fire, our store donated and discounted all the supplies and tools needed to repair and restore the building earning kudos, awards, plaques, and front page attention in local Newspapers.
In the newly constructed 167,000 square foot Morris/Union Jointure School for autistic children, we built a store within the school. Using mock money, empty paint cans, and supplied with safe tools and hardware, students learn to function as store clerks, and as customers as well, all within the Warrenville Paint and Hardware storefront within the mock Main Street of the school building. One of the students parents were so inspired that they purchased a hardware store of their own as a family business where they can provide future employment for their own child as well as other autistic people!
People: the people who work at Warrenville True Value Paint and Hardware have come to us from a diversity of former careers in Corporate America, Engineering, Academia, Geology, and Design just to name a few. It is their expertise and their attention to helpful, friendly, value-added service that makes customers want to do business with us. It is common for people to travel more than 20 miles passing several paint and hardware stores along the way - for the customer service they get in our store. Customers are greeted with a smile by uniformed, name-tagged staff and always asked if they need assistance finding what they came for. Often people visit our store on lunch break from local corporate offices and we recognize and respect that they may have limited time, so they are always greeted with a friendly smile and how can I help you, right away so we can help them get in and out of the store and back to their work quickly. Customers get to know our staff on a first name basis building valuable relationships. We have experts in our color studio to help customers coordinate paint colors with fabric, tiles, carpet swatches, etc. Our paint and color experts have used all the products we sell in their own homes which makes their guidance even more credible, their service to customers more valuable and unique, and drives customers from all over New Jersey, because for some customers, picking paint and color is even worse than public-speaking! Not only in paint and color, but in every department, customers find knowledgeable, friendly, helpful staff at Warrenville Paint and Hardware.
Summary: Customers from all over have proven again and again that we are worth the trip from almost anywhere! Our dedication to friendly value-added service drives customers to our store regularly and they are always telling their friends about the excellent service and knowledgeable, helpful staff at our store. The Local Gannett Newspaper annually polls its readers for The Best of The Best and Warrenville Paint and Hardware always ranks as one of the best places to do business in Central Jersey. When Money Magazine named Warren, NJ as one of the top ten places to live in the whole United States, it was partially because of stores like Warrenville Paint and Hardware.