"With everything under one roof, we've positioned ourselves as a one-stop shop. This is attractive to the customer base for obvious reasons, but we benefit from a supermarket type of effect. Customers come in for one thing, but then they walk around and end up leaving with other, often unrelated products. This is especially true when we have our annual SK sale. People come for SK Hand Tools, but it really ends up driving sales of everything else because people get in the store, start looking around, and leave with much more than what they came for," states Funderburg.
An expansive inventory also helps promote Dayton Tool Crib throughout the area. "Word of mouth is a big reason for our growth," cites Funderburg. "An example was this 48" pipe wrench we sold one time. We had it in stock for a while, but when we finally sold it I know that customer talked about us to other people because he had such a hard time finding that anywhere else.
"It really comes down to doing things that no one else can. That's how we've built a name for ourselves. We also listen to our customers and make sure to carry the more common products that they regularly need and want, - at a fair price."
Understanding what their customers need and want can also be seen by a number of the services they provide, and approaches that Dayton Tool Crib uses.
- Tool repair. Relying on his affinity to tinker, and background as a technician, Funderburg and counterman Bill Romine repair everything from hand and power tools to rivet guns and pressure washers.
- Counter displays. Dayton Tool Crib showcases different products on the counter, usually new or seasonal tools and equipment.
- They do their own catalog and use some direct mail in communicating with customers.
- Funderburg cites that Dayton is an "old car town", meaning that a lot of his customers, as well as the general public, have a vehicle they're working to restore. Therefore, the store is kept simple, clean and organized in attracting weekend mechanics that generate a significant amount of walk-up business.
- Because he carries a more professional and higher-priced collection of tools, equipment and supplies, Funderburg really doesn't compete with the local Home Depot or Harbor Freight big box store. As a result, he capitalizes on referral business from them.
Although Funderburg has benefited from a previous life in retail, his approach in making Dayton Tool Crib a success has more to do with understanding customers than managing people or margins. He explains the premise of Dayton Tool Crib's success this way:
"Once you understand the customer and your niche in meeting their needs, everything else is just taking steps to match supply with demand. In our case that's providing a breadth of quality products at fair prices, and then standing behind what we sell and service."