Terry’s hammers out hardware haven in Rosemount
Downtown Rosemount anchor sets sail on a new course
by Tad Johnson
What item can’t you find at Terry’s Hardware in Rosemount?
a) Copper pipe,
b) Circular-shaped light bulbs,
c) Mr. Clean,
d) A kitchen sink.
While practically everything but the kitchen sink can be found at the downtown Rosemount anchor for the past 30 years, the store carries everything else to make it work – faucets, washers, nuts, screws, Teflon tape, supply tubes, drain stops and so much more.
That’s the message owner Pete Terry, the son of the business’ first-generation founders, Chuck and Darlene Terry, wants to send the Rosemount area. It’s something that he says has been a challenge over the years due to its ties to Ace Hardware.
By splitting with Ace recently, Pete is out to forge a new identity with a new logo, sign and message to local residents that a trip out of town to a big-box might not be necessary as Terry’s offers loads of items, convenience and friendly, knowledgeable service.
Pete said he started to think about ending his relationship with Ace about two years ago as his business model started to separate itself from the Ace “cookie cutter” approach.
“We didn’t want to continue down that path,” he said.
The most difficult part was an ability to promote and price his own products, which number more than 40,000.
“We are whatever the customer wants to be,” Pete said of the business’ policy of filling out a yellow card every time a customer can’t find what he or she is looking for.
The cards are reviewed to determine if this doohickey or that thingamajig should be stocked, items such as custom-made furnace filters that were made available by local demand.
“It is part guess and part science,” Pete said of going independent. “I have a business model … and it’s just 30 years of doing this. … We are constantly changing to meet the demands for some things while others fade away.”
Splitting with Ace also frees up marketing money so Terry’s can spend it in ways it sees fit.
One of the first items on Pete’s agenda was publishing a catalog of many of the top products Terry’s carries. He feels that if he can get that “shotgun method” catalog in people’s hands they can see all the items Terry’s can provide.
One of the biggest challenges for the business that started 30 years ago as a Coast-to-Coast is a highly competitive market. Big-box home improvement stores drive down price, but Pete says that Terry’s, which moved into its current location 20 years ago, remains competitive.
Where Terry’s differentiates itself is service. Many of the employees have been with the business for several years, and they are glad to provide advice and knowledge.
One of those employees is Pete, who had worked in the business while growing up. After graduating from college with a degree in accounting his job prospects were tied to working in a large accounting firm.
Instead of clocking in at a big office building, Pete managed his parents’ Hastings store when it first opened as a favor to them.
“I swore I would never do this,” Pete said.
That was 22 years ago. Even the first few years when he often logged 15-hour days couldn’t scare him away.
Pete still manages that operation, which is about double the size of the Rosemount store.
The fuel that keeps him going is the chance to be his own boss, along with interacting with customers and helping them solve problems.
And he hopes the new changes will allow the business to keep doing that for many more years to come.
Tad Johnson is at email@example.com.