Tri-County Hardware & Farm SupplySuccess Story
Simplicity Makes Paladin an Easy Choice for Tri-County Hardware
Dennis Gamble makes no bones about it: He is not tech-savvy. So, when he went looking for a retail platform for Tri-County Hardware and Farm Supply, a business he purchased in 2008, he wanted an easy-to-operate point of sale system, intuitive software that would help him in every aspect of his store, and friendly, responsive support. After quite a bit of research, he chose Paladin Data Corporation as his technology provider and his store’s first retail platform.
Tri-County Hardware is in the tiny Florida panhandle town of Paxton, just a stone’s throw south of the Alabama border. Located in Walton County, it is near unincorporated Lakewood and Florala, Alabama, the area’s most populous town with about 2,000 residents, according to the last census. The area is so rural that Dennis says: “Just about everybody has a cow, a pig, a chicken or a goat.” So, feed and seed are staples for his store. He also sells a lot of hardware, along with plumbing and electrical supplies used on farms and ranches. His niche markets are “anything to go with connectors on tractors,” vet supplies, fishing gear and a little bit of ammunition.
Up until June 2018, Dennis and his wife Mary Alice ran the business a lot like a hardware store might have run over half a century ago. They used a cash register and a lot of paper and pens. So, even though the Gambles had owned the business for 10 years, bringing modern retail technology into their store was a little intimidating and almost like starting a new venture.
“I’m an old codger – not very tech-minded. And, of course, I resisted change. I wanted to (keep doing business) in the shoebox. This is the first system we’ve had and Paladin works real well for us,” Dennis says with a laugh, adding he was so resistant to change “the system sat on the floor for darn near a year before we got into it. But once we did, we love it.”
Dennis might not be very tech-savvy, but he’s a shrewd businessman who has worn many hats during his career. He partnered with his brother in three hardware stores several years ago and worked in the defense industry near Eglin Air Force Base outside of Valparaiso, Florida. In addition to his hardware store, he runs a residential construction company and a real estate agency with his sons Dag and David.
Tri-County Hardware has used HDW, Orgill and Florida Hardware as its main suppliers over the years and utilizing Paladin’s multiple EDI (electronic data interchange) connections has allowed Dennis to steadily optimize his inventory and increase his revenue. He purchased his cutting-edge hardware from Paladin, too. He uses his barcode scanners, Paladin’s Market Driven Inventory Management, and his experience with his customers to place orders and control his inventory. When he bought the business, it had a fasteners display – nuts, bolts and screws – that was about 4 feet long. Now that section covers 31 feet of aisle space and draws a lot of business.
“This has been a labor-saver for me. The way the accountant wanted our paperwork, it was labor-intensive to put together. We put in sales, cash, credit, checks and accounts received by hand. And that better tally up to how much business we done that day. Now, it’s all done at the front desk. It cut a lot of hours out of my week.”
The business now grosses close to $1 million annually, a considerable improvement from the struggling store he purchased a little over 10 years ago. Paladin’s many business management features and integrations streamline Tri-County Hardware’s operations, which Dennis said is one of his favorite things about the system.
“This has been a labor-saver for me. The way the accountant wanted our paperwork, it was labor-intensive to put together. We put in sales, cash, credit, checks and accounts received by hand, and that better tally up to how much business we done that day. When we wrote our charge tickets by hand, somebody manually had to put them in the computer. When that account was paid, we had to manually address that in the computer, too,” he explains. “Now, it’s all done at the front desk. It cut a lot of hours out of my week.”
Dennis said choosing Paladin has been a great move for his business. He especially likes the responsive support he gets.
“They came out here, set us up, and trained everybody,” he says. “They’re a good group of people. We’ve never made a phone call to them where we weren’t satisfied.”