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Power Townsend

Beating the Big Boxes
Power Townsend - drive thru lumber yardIn the early 1990s, Wall determined that it was just too cumbersome to continue to operate his lumber business out of a building 100 yards away from the rest of his store. At that point he combined the two. He brought the hardware business into the lumberyard facility and expanded that from 15,000 to 35,000 square feet, keeping the drive-through yard.

“We had to either get small and go all contractor or we had to get bigger and be like the big box stores,” Wall said. A market study completed in conjunction with Do it Best Corp. had determined that for the business to succeed, Wall needed to at least double Power Townsend’s size.
The timing on his expansion wasn’t simply fortuitous. Less than a decade later, Home Depot came to town. Another six or seven years after that, Lowe’s moved in across the street.

Power Townsend - building lumber loadWith the big boxes moving in, it was time for Power Townsend to expand again. While Home Depot was under construction, Wall purchased an extra five acres of ground next door, and expanded to a total of 70,000 square feet of retail space plus five acres of lumber.

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Now operating on the same footprint from a size perspective, Wall worked to remain a step ahead of his competition. “We have sales reps that focus on the contractor,” he said. “That sets us apart from the big boxes. Plus, we deliver at night and on weekends so their materials are there when they need them. Plus…service, service, service.”

A good number of his customers have also visited the nearby big box stores, and Wall is okay with that. Where Power Townsend continues to win is in customer service and product knowledge. As an example, Wall shared the story of a customer from a big box store across the interstate who couldn’t seem to get her paint mixed correctly. The customer brought the color cards from the big box store and a Power Townsend employee was happy to mix up the color just right.

Power Townsend - Don Andrews“That’s just a small snippet of what we do better,” Wall said. “The same thing happens in power tools and appliances. We’ve got lots of people who have worked 20-plus years with us. We have painters in the paint department, electricians in the electric and plumbers in the plumbing. If you come to us we’ll tell you how to do it. You don’t get that elsewhere.”

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