Every morning at Granby Ace Hardware in Granby, Colorado, Morris the cat takes on pest duty, ridding the hardware store and the neighboring buildings of mice and other vermin. Morris is more than just an employee serving the customers of Granby Ace; he is a cherished member of the family, says owner Amy Kaplanis.
In August 2022, Morris was patrolling the outside of the store when he was mistakenly picked up as a stray. Thanks to people sharing the news of his disappearance on social media, Morris was returned to the store after a short time and was able to resume his duties as pest control and customer and employee favorite.
“Morris is a member of the family and an integral part of our team,” Kaplanis says. “He listens in to our morning huddles, and during the day you can usually find him on the counter. Customers have to hand products over him because he’s taking up space trying to get belly rubs and attention.”
The day after Morris was returned, the store ran a special promotion where anyone who mentioned Morris received $5 off their purchase.
“We wanted to thank the community because the outpouring of support was amazing,” Kaplanis says. “People shared our Facebook post, and there was a lot of communication around the town. We couldn’t have found him without all the help.”
Guessing Game Giveaways
Offering a fun spin on the typical giveaway, Everson’s Hardware Hank in Waconia, Minnesota, hosted a series of contests where customers had the opportunity to guess how many items were in a jar for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Carver County Fair. Owner Deborah Everson posted about the contest on the store’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for three days, and for two of those days customers could also submit guesses in the store.
Each day featured a different type of item in the jar, including salt water taffy, nuts and cap screws. The guess could not be over, and customers could guess once each on the Facebook page, Instagram page and in the store.
“We’ve done similar contests before, and each time our goal is to support and promote our community and other businesses in the area,” Everson says. “This particular contest promoted our local fair, which is something we do every year that our customers look forward to. It’s a fun way to bring the community together and get people engaged in what we’re doing at our store.”
Employees also took part in their own guessing game. Everson gave each employee a chance to guess the date that construction on the road in front of the store would be completed and the employee who had the closest guess earned a four-pack of Hank’s Beverage Co. Root Beer, a favorite of customers and employees alike that is sold in the store.
Visits With Old Saint Nick
When the pandemic shut down the world, including many holiday events and activities, McCoy True Value Hardware in Indianola, Iowa, stepped up to bring Christmas joy to customers of all ages. In 2020 and 2021, the store hosted a drive-thru event in the parking lot, offering a socially distanced opportunity for kids to visit with Santa, says co-owner Jennifer Pfeifer-Malaney.
“My daughter and her cousins were elves working on toys, we had a drop-off box for letters to Santa and kids could meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at the end of the route,” she says.
This year, the store is partnering with a local radio station and youth foundation and offering kids a chance to share their lists with Santa on air in the mobile Big Red Radio.
“We plan on giving away Santa Bucks, which are $5 gift certificates each child can bring into the store to purchase a gift for someone special in their life,” Pfeifer-Malaney says.
Personalized Gift Giving
New for this holiday season, HomCo Lumber and Hardware in Flagstaff, Arizona, offers customers a way to give personalized gifts. The store added a custom engraver that customers can use to create personalized signs, picture frames, plaques and more. Next to the engraving machine is a display of the items that can be engraved for customers to browse. Once a customer chooses an item, they scan it into the machine and use the computer to choose a design template. Then they add the text they want to be engraved on the item and the machine does the rest.
Engage with Your Customers
Have an idea? Send an email to have your story considered for publication.