Everything You Need is Waiting for You at Northside Hardware
More than 52 years at the same location on Wayne Road, Northside Hardware is an outstanding success by any measure. In testament to the store's drawing appeal, customers from throughout the region come to Northside, bypassing several, bigger competitors’ stores along the way.
Do-it-yourselfers, homeowners, automotive mechanics, commercial plumbers, heating and cooling professionals, mechanical engineers, small and large manufacturing engineering personnel – even Metro Airport airline mechanics – come to Northside. They know that absolutely essential tool or part is likely on the shelf, waiting for them at Northside Hardware.
In the era of the big box national chain stores, Phil Kaplan, his son Robert, the owners of Northside Hardware, and their 70 employees are thriving by giving their customers what they what – professional, knowledgeable staff, personal on-the-floor service; competitive pricing and an incredible, unmatched selection of product lines.
“It’s a complement of sorts, said Phil Kaplan, “when customers come to us and say employees at the big stores suggested Northside will likely have an item they themselves do not stock. It happens on almost a daily basis.”
Kaplan continued, “Our mission is to provide our customers with a bigger selection, outstanding personal customer service and competitive pricing, as well.”
Among independent hardware stores without lumber, Northside ranks among the top half of one percent of hardware stores in the U.S. in volume and sales.
“When the big stores emerged, such as Home Depot, selling hardware, lumber and appliances, our market was definitely changed. But, we have managed to maintain a respectable market share by finding out what we can do better than they can do,” he said.
For Northside, that means maintaining merchandise that the larger stores don’t bother with while also maintaining a greater selection of a given product, such as faucet stems. The product lines number into the hundreds of thousands.
“Home Depot claims to maintain 55,000 stock keeping units (skus). We maintain in excess of 125,000 skus, among them are every kind and size of fastener — bolts, nuts and screws — every diameter and length a customer can possible require. Additionally, we offer home cleaning supplies, lawn and garden products and tools — you name it and we are likely to have it for you.”
“While the big stores may maintain 80 or so different product lines, we maintain two or three hundred product lines. For instance, we offer all kinds of tools and plumbing fittings that the others don’t bother with.” Kaplan explained.
“We also sell ‘alternative’ merchandise,” he said. “While the big discounters only sell name-brand tools, which we also offer at the same price, we additionally provide alternative, high-value products at a savings. I travel throughout the nation to buy competitive merchandise which we can price below the market price of the name-brand merchandise. Those products get the job done just like the name-brands, but they also deliver a considerable price savings for our customers, too.”
“Over the years, commercial businesses have come to rely on Northside. For instance, all the airlines from Metro Airport and the nearby Ford assembly plant buy from us to resolve immediate needs for materials and tools they need. Additionally, there are many smaller parts manufacturers in our area and we try to cater to all of them.”
“To do all this takes a lot of person attention. My son and I are on the floor each day, giving personal care to each customer,” Kaplan said.
And, offering customers the right product at the right price is something of an art form as well as astute buying and pricing.
Kaplan explains, “As a member of True Value Hardware we are able to purchase products at competitive or lower costs. Also, over the years we have learned to price competitively. In some cases we are able to offer our customers excellent bargains, at prices even below the bigger national stores.”
“A lot is developed via hard work as well as trial and error. Don’t think for a minute it all comes out of a computer and you make your calculations and you don’t even have to try it,” Kaplan said. “While that’s part of it, there’s the empirical method. We’ll try something and if it doesn’t work we will know and if it does work, then we can expand it to its limits.”
“All this is a capital and management intensive business. Retail is detail,” he said.
“The City of Wayne, itself has an excellent demographic cross-section of people for our kind of business, heavily blue collar and at the same time, middle class and professionals. Do-it-yourself is a mantra for hardware stores. We thrive on do-it-yourselfers and we have a lot of them here,” Kaplan said.
Northside True Value Hardware
2912 Wayne Road
Wayne, MI 48184
Monday - Saturday 8 am – 9 pm
Sunday 10 am – 5 pm