Clem's Hardware

Success Story

Paladin Helps Clem’s Hardware Keep Up with Phenomenal Growth 

Clem’s Hardware in Cass Lake, Minnesota has been in Barb and Patrick Brown’s family for three generations. Up until a couple of years ago, the business operated just about the same way it did in 1974 when Barb’s father, Harold “Clem” Goss, who was the area’s milkman, swapped professions with the local hardware store owner. Cash registers were used to make sales. Pens and paper were used for invoices, inventory and ordering.

“Over the years, five of Clem’s seven children worked at the store, and it’s been a source of work for grandkids through the years, too,” Patrick says.

In late 2022, the Browns upgraded Clem’s with a new point-of-sale and inventory management system from Paladin Data Corporation and the result was described as “life-changing” for the business.

“We were operating with an inadequate register system,” explains Patrick, the store’s general manager. “I could not keep track of our inventory.”

Clem’s is a United Hardware Hank store and before moving to Paladin, Patrick says placing and receiving orders was difficult. The data downloads required a lot of work. Paladin simplified that process.

“We went from jumping through a lot of hoops to just poking a download button. Really, I just have to push a button,” he says.

In addition to the simple daily data downloads, PaladinNsight™ shows store owners and managers how their inventory is performing in real time with a user-friendly dashboard. It features:

Lost opportunity tool:

Locates under-performing items and helps you remove them from stock. 

Investment review tool:

Helps look after inventory on a year-round basis by always displaying the most out-of-date (unreviewed) items. 

Loss Experience tool:

Helps groups lost items by location or department to help pinpoint where inventory loss is occurring. 

Non-performing assets tool:

Locates under-performing items and helps you remove them from stock. 

Those data downloads give Clem’s the ability to print their own bin tags. The store gets pricing updates and updated bin tags when it receives its orders from United. But when it orders from another company and needs to change prices or replace damaged tags, Paladin’s downloads deliver.

“The ability to print our own bin tags is huge. Before, if we didn’t get it from United, we had to print them ourselves,” Patrick says. “Paladin makes it easy to do.”

Clem’s also utilizes Paladin’s purchase order processing, which makes buying from alternative suppliers easy.

“We do a lot of business with Milwaukee Tool, Ego, and others. The purchase order ability that Paladin has is awesome,” he says.

Paladin has also simplified the store’s customer checkout. Not only is Paladin Point of Sale easy to learn and teach, which reduces employee training, it’s also extremely easy to use and makes customer checkout a breeze. That’s important to Clem’s staff during the busy summer season.

Barb Brown and her son Patrick display a photo of Barb's parents who took over the business in 1974

Barb and Patrick Brown are the daughter and grandson of Harold “Clem” Goss, who took over the store in 1974.

Cass Lake is a tiny lakefront town of around 800 hardy souls in the land of 10,000 lakes. However, in the summer Patrick says it swells to around 12,000 when the surrounding resorts and campgrounds are filled.  

“The closest regional shopping center is about 14 miles away, so our customers know we’re going to take care of them. You’re not going to get affordable products by driving a half hour,” Patrick explains. “We always take care of the customer first.” 

Paladin helps Clem’s do that by making customer checkout fast and easy. 

“My cashiers like it. If you make a mistake ringing up a customer, it’s easy to fix. The old way was you had to void the whole transaction. With Paladin, you just fix it and move on,” he explains.

Integrated credit card processing is something that saves Clem’s checkout staff a lot of time, too.

“With our old operating system, our credit cards weren’t hooked up to our registers. In the summer it gets crazy busy here. Because we had to input the items in two different systems, mistakes could be made,” he explained. “Having the credit cards tied to the terminal is much more efficient.”

Paladin’s unsurpassed setup and support cemented Patrick’s opinion of the company and the products.

“It’s brilliant. I love the fact that I can just send a chat and somebody gets back to me right away,” he says.

For a store counting on a short but busy summer season – May through August – Clem’s does very well, Patrick says. The store does about $750,000 in sales annually and during one of the years affected by the pandemic sold just shy of $1 million. Patrick sees a bright future for his business.

We’ve grown exponentially. We’ve had double-digit increases every year since we’ve taken over. It’s been pretty tough for mom-and-pop stores. The mom-and-pops of the world are the foundation of this country. When we decided we needed to go to another system, we went to some of our competitors, and they recommended Paladin. It was a really easy system to learn, and it did everything we needed. We decided then we better just put our money into Paladin.” 

Patrick Brown

General Manager, Clem's Hardware

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