Business of Excellence: Weist Hardware
- Business: Weist Hardware
- Location: New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
- Owners: Audrey Weist and Jolynn Weist Mascaro
- Years in business: 29
When Audrey Weist decided to buy a shuttered hardware store in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania after her husband passed away in 1992 she was aiming to start the next chapter of her life with a family business. Together, with her daughter, Jolynn Weist Mascaro, they have used hard work and Paladin technology to make their small-town business, Weist Hardware, a huge success.
New Cumberland is a borough of about 8,000 on the western bank of the Susquehanna River a little over 100 miles east of Philadelphia. Weist Hardware is the borough’s go-to place for hardware and home improvement products. The store also offers small engine repair, glass cutting, screen repair, and an impressive paint department which is popular due to the harsh East Coast winters.
While Audrey purchased the previously closed business, she admits Jolynn now handles most of the day-to-day operations. Both women say their decision to use Paladin to help them run their business has made it more efficient and pleasant to run.
“Knowing what to order and when is a big deal. And not over-ordering, like you can do when you’re doing it manually. It gives me time to do other things,” Audrey says. “After spending 20 years working from 8 in the morning to 6 at night, it’s good to have a few hours free in the afternoon.”
Jolynn uses a different and slightly unusual method to gauge her store’s success with Paladin.
“One of the things I noticed when we started using Paladin was that I could see more of our basement floor,” she explains. “That sounds kind of funny. What does that have to do with anything? But it has a lot to do with inventory management. Because now, where I used to have 50 brooms and mops sitting down there covering most of the floor, we’re down to only five mops sitting down there and five brooms sitting down there, so I can see more of the floor. So, that is really exciting to me that, you know. We’re doing more inventory management and not having too much inventory on hand and all of our money sitting in the basement.”
Paladin’s Market Driven Inventory Management™ with Suggested Order™ and Order Analyst™ uses proprietary algorithms and sales history to help independent retail businesses like Weist Hardware reduce their inventory investment and keep the perfect balance of stock on hand. Suggested Order provides accurate suggestions on what products to order and how many. Order Analyst searches a store’s suppliers for the lowest prices and splits purchase orders between suppliers to keep costs down.
Jolynn says she also appreciates Paladin’s simplicity.
“It is very easy to use. It’s easy for my mother or me to go in and add new customers or change the inventories,” Jolynn says. “Our old system wasn’t really accurate and was hard to judge. Now I can run those reports and see what we’re selling daily, weekly, monthly. I can do all kinds of individualized reports. I had a customer the other day tell me how great our system was with printing out statements and getting him the information he needed to be able to run his business. It’s very friendly to our customers as well as user-friendly for us.”
Speaking of customers, Jolynn also uses a rewards program that sends text messages out sales and special events directly to their cell phones. The program even targets individual customers by sending a birthday greeting and a coupon to use on their next visit. She mines all her customer information through Paladin. She’s also very active on social media, posting videos on the store’s Facebook page to stay in touch with her loyal shoppers.
“I really like (Paladin) and there isn’t anything I would change,” she says. “The software works well. I have the great flexibility of working with my customers more frequently. I don’t have to sit at the computer and do all sorts of analyzing. I can be out working with our customers and having a great relationship with everybody who comes in.”