A local success + Happy Hardware Day Nov. 20!

Who’s got the cheapest lumber in town? The cheapest mortar?

Think the best prices are way out at Lowe’s? 

Think again. 

Shuman-Owens Supply Co., located just 5 minutes from downtown Columbia, SC, is a brick’s throw from the S.C. State Fair Grounds and Gamecock Stadium.

And it’s one of the last independent, locally-owned hardware stores in Columbia.

Despite the slump in the building trades and consumer flight to suburban big box retailers, this Shop Road standard is somehow creaming the big box retailers. How are they managing to succeed in such a tough climate?

Buy SC Local Success Spotlight:

Local Hardware Store Hammers the Big Box

What is this small business doing right?

“Well, for starters,” says local stonemason Jefferson Hubbell, “Shuman-Owens is cheaper than Lowe’s for just about everything I need on the job.”

He gives an example: “If you need a 75 lb. bag of mortar for a masonry job,” he notes, “Shuman-Owens will charge you $8, while a smaller, 70-pound bag will cost you $10 at Lowe’s.

This really makes a difference when you’re in a business that requires hundreds of bags of mortar per year.”

(Choosing this local hardware store for just 10 bags of mortar per week for a year would indeed save you over $1000.

Not exactly chump change.)

The low prices don’t quit on building materials, even as a project scales upwards.

“If your client needs a million dollars’ worth of western cedar timber for his  post-and-beam hunting lodge,” Hubbell adds, “Shuman-Owens will source it for less per board foot than pretty much any competitor in the Southeast.

A true family-run business
“The service makes a big difference for me,” says Hubbell. “It’s a family-run business.”
“”I’ve been going into Shuman-Owens for near 20 years, and it feels good. We know each other.” 

While there are certainly a fair share of friendly, knowledgeable staff working at big box retailers like Lowe’s, it’s hard to beat the personal level of service that a local, independently-owned business can provide.

It’s up to consumers to support these local businesses by voting with your hardware dollars
Read reporter Kristy Eppley Rupon’s recent story in The State, “Hammered: Hardware stores pushed out by big-box retailers, economy 

And then take action!

1. Take your free spot in the new Buy SC directory of locally owned small businesses:

Sign up here: http://www.buysc.org

2. Fly the Buy SC badge on your website, Facebook fan page, etc., and ask us for a Buy SC sticker — just like the one you see below on the front door of Shuman-Owens!

3. Talk up Happy Hardware Day, Saturday, Nov. 20! It’s the first installment of our new “Local Has It” action campaign series here at the nonprofit SC Small Business Chamber, and we’re really excited.

Shuman-Owens flies the Buy SC badge!
On Saturday, November 20, 2010, go and shop at independent, locally owned hardware stores throughout South Carolina. Spread the word!
You can print the Happy Hardware Day poster below, upload it to your website and Facebook, and pass on this call to action to your own social networks. It’s up to all of us!

Spread the word! Let’s Buy SC!

Huge thanks to the talented graphic designer Karen Williford, who designed the Happy Hardware Day poster *and* the Buy SC logo for the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

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