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Maker Shopping Center

One Stop Home Improvement
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
  [vote for,

The purpose of this idea is to fight against the rise of big hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowe's, B&Q), which, although they have nearly all of the home improvement stuff you want under one roof, have a bland corporate feel, and ignorant sales people whose know little about the merchandise they're selling.

Simply put, build a shopping center with various different specialty stores side by side, but *not* as one big store. They would share a parking lot and a front sidewalk, but otherwise each store would be as separate from one another as any two neighboring stores in a shopping center or mall.

Included would be a lumber yard, a plumbing supply store, an electronics stores, a garden center, a paint store, and a (small) hardware store, which would sell everything not sold in the other stores. There would probably some other types of stores I haven't though of, but I don't want mfd-list, so I won't solicit for more store types.

Just as restaurants gain business by having other restaurants (of different food types) as neighbors, these home improvement/home repair stores would benefit from being near their semi-competitors.

Because each store is a separate business, and separated from one another by walls, sales associates from one store aren't going to wander into their neighboring stores, to tell customers who ask them questions, "Sorry, I don't work in this department." (Something heard far too often in my local Home Depot).

Instead, employees will be stuck in their own stores, forced to learn the merchandise they're supposed to be selling. Plus, since each store is smaller, it's easier for customers to find employees to ask questions of (there're fewer places to hide).

It's also a plus for employees who *like* helping people, since in a smaller store, it's easier to find any customers who happen to be present, and since it's a more specialized store, it's much more likely that questions that the customer asks, will be ones that the employee will know the answers to.

Also, it's easier for employees to get to know the regular customers.

goldbb, Apr 05 2010


       From the title I don't think that this idea goes far enough by simply making a shopping center of individually departmented stores. I expected it to be a (much larger) shopping center consisting of manufacturer's outlet stores for each of the manufacturer's that might be normally represented in your local Home Depot, Lowes, Eagle, etc. As such, instead of just a "Gardening Center Store", you would have individually staffed stores separately representing the Toro brand, the Scott's brand, the Monrovia Nurseries brand, the Corona Tools brand, the Miracle-Gro brand, and so on. Then you would (or at least should) have reasonably knowledgeable sales people to address your needs. And we could truly wage the good war against mankind's greatest foe...crabgrass.
jurist, Apr 06 2010

       [+] This is in the same vein as "Guys' Mall" which we did or I fantasized about while waiting for somebody to try on 48 pairs of jeans, none of which fit "right". ("Does this make my ass look big ?" "No the cheesecake you had for.. ow ow ow ow ow..."   

       [jurist] yuck, you'd get people that know their own brand but would be shills: pass.
FlyingToaster, Apr 06 2010

       [FlyingToaster]: If you see my modification to the original idea as more akin to the manufacturers' booths at a major industrial trade fair with sales people flagrantly hawking the features and benefits of their own particular brand, then that's fine. ( Especially if they have inordinately attractive spokes-models making the presentations.) If not, you simply move down the aisle to the next booth with a product line you are more interested in learning about or purchasing. All the major brands are represented there for you to make your own (better) informed choice.
jurist, Apr 06 2010

       [jurist] too shiny for my tastes... all posters and videos running on screens, etc.
FlyingToaster, Apr 06 2010

       yesterday, I made a return trip to a large UK electrical store to look for speakers that had a docking station for an ipod. I believed that the item existed and had been led to believe the one I was shown the previously Sat was indeed the one I was looking for. Displayed on the shelf were two speakers and a dock. I waited to find someone who could talk me through the item a little more and while waiting noticed on the box that the docking station was available to buy separately.   

       cutting a long story short and after spending half an hour waiting around, first one assistant looked the product up on a computer and agreed with me that the docking station did not come with the speakers. a more senior assistant reluctantly followed me to the display, was equally baffled by the fact the dock was displayed with the speakers in a manner that misled the buyer. he first attempted to say that just because say a mouse was displayed next to a computer, you did not expect to buy a mouse with a computer. piffle say I, this is a shelf full of speakers and this one is displayed with a dock and it is misleading. the final explanation was that the manufacturers, themselves, often display the items and the shop could not be held responsible for that. no apologies were forthcoming for anything including my wasted time.   

       I fully expect that the next time I visit the store (out of curiosity mainly) the display will still be there unless some poor idiot has bought the thing. I'm angry as you can probably tell and I really don't DO anger much. I'd really like to take revenge in some way - e.g. supergluing a notice to the shelf to warn customers. any ideas would be welcome.
po, Apr 06 2010

       //superguing a notice to the shelf//
supergluing the display dock to a pair of speakers ?
FlyingToaster, Apr 06 2010

       oh that's good. something that doesn't catch me on camera and end up with ME in the dock!
po, Apr 06 2010

       I don't see that as being much more inconspicuous than supergluing a handbill to the shelf... if they notice something's wrong immediately after you've visited the store, they're gonna know who dunnit anyways.   

       umm... most of my more creative "solutions" would tend to be rather disproportionate: what about the old standby ? Fish, lots of them, tossed into obscure hidden nooks and crannies. A couple weeks later start a rumour on the 'net claiming that as a promotion: "For the next few months the store will be giving a free toy fish to anybody who sticks their head in the door and yells "ARE THE FISH EXTRA ???", while supplies last".
FlyingToaster, Apr 06 2010

       Unfortunately the bland corporate stores would be cheaper due to economies of scale, if not due directly to blandness.
Aristotle, Apr 06 2010

       I think it's a great idea - and one that's kind of semi-actualised in small "industrial-estates" dotted around the country where you can buy tiles, then hop over the road to the carpet shop, and then next door to the builder's merchants. I *do* like the commercialisation of this on a more formal (but not 100% formal as in a single, monolithic store might be) and a park that set out from the beginning with this goal in mind, I think, would end up being a commercial success. [+]   

       [po] I used to work in one of those electrical retail shops (the astronomical one, not the Indian-meal place) and all those sales-guys are there to do is sell, sell, sell. One way to really mess things up is to rearrange all of the pricing tickets (they used just to be slips of paper that slid into plastic sleeves beneath the product on display) - this can really confuse matters as each ticket has a code number and the experienced rep will memorise the code when checking it in "the computer" without checking the description. If you get caught you could just say you were "comparing prices" or something.   

       Oh, and also - <obligitory> I thought this idea was going to be a shop where I could purchase my very own sandworm laced with the spice melange.
zen_tom, Apr 06 2010

       If demand for this type of shopping center were strong enough, relative to demand for places like Home Depot, then supplying that demand would be profitable enough to make it happen. I like idea, but it defies principles of free market economics. It amounts to laws that block places like Home Depot from operating.
swimswim, Apr 06 2010

       //I like idea, but it defies principles of free market economics// Eh? how did you get to that conclusion? Free market economics benefits things (or at least, ideally *should* benefit things) that work better, provide a better service and are cheaper to operate. There's nothing here that says the entire park couldn't hire a single firm to do all their admin and HR, thus benefiting from economies of scale in terms of shared administration costs - meanwhile, the service would improve and so might the products.
zen_tom, Apr 06 2010

       [z-t] grrrr the Indian meal one.
po, Apr 06 2010

       \\Free market economics benefits things (or at least, ideally *should* benefit things) that work better, provide a better service and are cheaper to operate.\\
Yes, and fundamentally it rewards the most profitable approaches. Ultimately, the most profitable way to run this *would* be a single firm doing admin, HR, marketing, etc; and then and it would effectively be Home Depot, because that's the most profitable
swimswim, Apr 06 2010

       //I really don't DO anger much// If you need some more, perhaps we could have an anger whip-round. We would all contribute some anger on your behalf, while you just listened to something soothing on your ipod. Hmm... where's that [UB] when you need him?
pertinax, Apr 06 2010

       So it's kind of like a food court, except for home improvement wares? [+]
BunsenHoneydew, Apr 06 2010

       21Q, the quality of employees in the various different Home Depot stores varies enormously from one store to another. Some are full of knowledgeable people, others of ignorami. I attribute this to a variation in the quality of management of those stores.   

       // I like idea, but it defies principles of free market economics. It amounts to laws that block places like Home Depot from operating.//   

       z_t, I'm not suggesting that any law require that such a place exist, but rather that some entrepreneur create such a place. If it's profitable, then it may take away business from a nearby Home Depot. If it's very profitable, then it might result in that nearby Home Depot going out of business. *That's* free market enterprise. And of course, if the business model succeeds, it will be replicated.   

       Bunsen, yes, exactly :)
goldbb, Apr 06 2010

       Will there be knives ? We like knives ...
8th of 7, Apr 06 2010

       Aw, it makes me want to buy one for po as a present. Maybe I will include an anger training class gift certificate.
Mustardface, Apr 07 2010


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