RockSolid MAX® Hardware Store POS Software Helps Retailer Expand into Lumber and Building Materials Supply
When Jeff Paladino took over Milton Hardware in 1998, he brought with him the passion and instincts of a true entrepreneur.
Back then, the business was little more than a modest convenience store, with a limited product mix—both in breadth of categories and depth of inventory—and a retail footprint of little more than 4,500 square feet.
Fast forward to today and Milton Hardware is a dramatically different operation. The product mix boasts new depth in existing categories and the addition of several new ones, while the 4,500 square feet that Paladino started out with has grown to over 10,000.
In addition, the company added a 5,000 square foot building in 2010 to support the introduction of a rental operation for construction equipment and party-related items and another 12,000 square foot building this year, as part of a major expansion into the lumber and building supply business.
That move also brought a name change— from Milton Hardware and Rental Center to Milton Hardware and Building Supply.
“When I purchased Milton Hardware from my parents in 1998, it was very obvious that business as usual was not a viable option,” Paladino recalls. “There were rumors that big box competition was coming and I knew we either had to expand our selection and overall value proposition and become much more of a destination store or face the prospect of a mostly stagnant future.”
All the scuttlebutt back then about big boxes showing up turned out to be a lot more than just rumors. Even though Milton Hardware serves a town with a population of less than 20,000, four Home Depots, three Lowe’s and two Tractor Supply locations are today all within a 15-mile radius of the store.
Converting to RockSolid MAX software for lumber/building supply expansion just made sense
Despite the fierce competition—not to mention the challenges of some significant peaks and valleys in the overall economy in recent years—Paladino has kept Milton Hardware on an aggressive expansion course.
Last year’s investment in lumber and building supplies is redefining the company and already opening the door to new business and a new customer segment with major potential.
Managing growth and change on that scale is no easy task and that’s why since 2010, Jeff Paladino has used RockSolid™ and, more recently, RockSolid MAX™ cloud-based software from ECi Software Solutions to run his business.
“Technology has been an important part of the story at Milton Hardware for a long time now,”says Paladin. “We went live with RockSolid in 2010 and it’s been a valuable resource for the business on many levels—not just point of sale but also purchasing, inventory control, and managing the overall finances of the business.”
Adds Paladino, “RockSolid gave us the capabilities and the flexibility that we needed as a hardware store and when we added the lumber and building supply operation, converting to RockSolid MAX was the logical next step.”
Milton Hardware made the move to RockSolid MAX in November 2016. Changing software is never easy and, Paladino reports, there were a few bumps along the way. But, he says, the RockSolid MAX customer service and technical support teams were always there to help smooth things out.
“The level of support we get from RockSolid is generally very good,” he says. “They are always accessible and responsive.”
RockSolid MAX hardware software provides flexibility to serve customer effectively
Once Milton Hardware was live on RockSolid MAX, the benefits started showing up almost immediately.
RockSolid MAX, says Paladino, provides an ideal platform for a combination hardware, lumber and building supplies business. “The fact that we’re able to do unit of measure conversions, whether it be for linear feet or case quantities—has given us the kind of flexibility we need to serve our customers effectively,” he says.
The program has also made life a whole lot easier on the pricing front. “When you’re dealing with a largely commodities-driven business where prices can fluctuate, potentially, on a daily or weekly basis, it’s good to have access to a program that can make price changes to a product category on a global basis,” he points out. “That has been a big plus for us, both in terms of time savings and the ability to react quickly to market changes.”
RockSolid MAX cloud-based software for hardware stores eliminates daily data backups
RockSolid MAX’s status as a cloud-based program has also proved its worth pretty much from day one.
“Moving to the cloud has brought us time savings and added convenience,” reports Paladino. “Before we moved to RockSolid MAX, we had to do daily backups and updates ourselves,” he recalls. “All that was work we had to do after hours and updates could take at least 20–30 minutes or upwards of a couple of hours depending on what was involved. Moving to the cloud has not only freed up valuable time to focus on more productive areas, but also given us a greater comfort level with backups and data security. And being able to access the system from anywhere where there’s a web browser is also a big plus.”
As Paladino looks to the future, it’s not too surprising that more growth figures prominently in his plans for Milton Hardware.
If the right opportunity comes along, a second location could be opened. And with or without that addition, there’s still plenty of potential still to work on in the lumber and building supply side of the company.
Regardless of where Jeff Paladino’s future plans may take Milton Hardware, though, one thing is certain: RockSolid MAX will continue to keep the business strong, productive and profitable!