La Pine Ace HardwareSuccess Story
La Pine Ace Hardware began life as a small, family-owned lumberyard serving the hardy souls of Central Oregon’s snow-swept Cascades. Today, it is arguably one of the busiest businesses in town and Paladin Data Corporation has played a large role in it its success modernizing the business the latest retail technology.
La Pine is a small town of approximately 1,600, but with a rural population of over 10,000. It sits about 30 miles south of Bend, the region’s largest city, making the store the hub for a large population of local contractors and do-it-yourselfers. Nearly 40% of the store’s business comes from building and service contractors making its lumberyard and building materials its core.
Several years after expanding into hardware, the previous owners John Pinkney and Steve Dodd, joined Ace Hardware. Once they joined Ace, they moved to a point of sale system recommended by the co-op. Over the years, that point of sale system became too expensive and too complicated for their employees to manage.
The store also began facing increased competition from big-box stores in Bend, as well as online retailers Amazon and Home Depot. More and more shoppers were turning to online retailers and mobile technology for their hardware needs.
In 2014, they chose Paladin Data Corporation to move the store into the future. Paladin equipped the store with 17 computer terminals, EMV-equipped credit card processing terminals, and all the peripherals for a modern retail operation. Mobile devices allow employees to take Paladin out into the lumberyard and on deliveries improving efficiency and customer service.
In 2018, the store implemented EZ-AD TV, one of Paladin’s many valuable marketing and sales integrations. It helps independent hardware retailers compete with online and big-box giants. The integration uses dynamic digital signage inside the store and a mobile application that accesses real-time inventory and sales information from the point of sale system. The mobile app also uses the device’s camera to scan barcodes and then displays pricing from across the web.
“We get a lot of customers who come in here and compare our prices with Home Depot. Now we can call up competitors’ prices on our phones and show customers that maybe their prices were lower last week, but not this week. We’ll make the app available to all our (sales associates),” Assistant Manager Cindy Sawyer said, adding the digital signage will elevate their in-store shopping experience, too.
“Running our advertising through the (monitors) works better. Instead of printing out all those ads, people can look at the screen and see what’s on sale. To me, it’s much more of an advantage. It’s the way business is running now.”
Paladin’s integration with all of Ace Hardware’s programs, including EDI, Ace Rewards and Dynamic Promotions, Ace RSC Stock Availability, and the Ace SKU conversion tool simplifies ordering, tracking, inventory management and customer relations. Paladin also makes it possible to view images of Ace products directly at the point of sale to improve customer service.
Cindy appreciates Paladin’s 100% U.S.-based support, which for her is a local phone call to its corporate headquarters in Bend. She also likes Paladin’s intuitive interface.
“Everything works and if I have questions I can get an answer,” she says. “Paladin with its dials kind of dials us in on things. It’s much easier.”