Hardware Stores sell the essential household tools, supplies, and products needed to keep your home in top-top shape.
They have become a fixture of communities across the globe by providing homeowners with a convenient location to get the hardware needed for everyday do-it-yourself tasks.
Every hardware store sells the essentials: tools, fasteners, paint, plumbing & electrical supplies, and lawn & garden supplies.
Larger stores may also have additional sections including plant nurseries, sporting goods, construction materials, household appliances, and kitchen cabinets.
Your local hardware store may supply products specifically tailored to fit the needs of your area, such as animal feed, boat parts, snow blowers, or truck rentals.
Specialty hardware stores, lumberyards and home furnishing shops for example, focus on selling a specific range of products in order to differentiate themselves from the much bigger nationwide retailers.
According to the latest Economic Census, the 16,454 hardware stores located in the United States generated a combined $20.1 billion in sales for the year and employed 143,738 Americans with a total payroll of $3.16 billion.
California is the state with the most hardware stores (1,241) and the most hardware store employees (17,509).
In the U.S. there are four major nationwide wholesale suppliers to Hardware Stores.
All four report more than $1 billion (US Dollars) in sales annually.
Three of them operate as cooperatives: Do It Best Corp, from Fort Wayne Indiana, True Value company from Chicago Illinois and Ace Hardware from Oakbrook Illinois.
Hardware store owners purchase stock in these suppliers and are "members" and "owners" as well as customers.
A hardware store may choose to include the name of the cooperative in the advertised name of the store.
The fourth nationwide supplier is Orgill, a traditional wholesale organization that does not operate as a cooperative.
Hardware stores also purchase from a variety of regional wholesalers and specialty manufacturers.
Regional wholesalers include Blish-Mize, Emery-Waterhouse, Florida Hardware, Handy Hardware, House Hasson Hardware, HDW, Inc, Jensen Distribution, Monroe Hardware, and United Hardware.
Manufacturers include Black and Decker, Rubbermaid and Weber.
Some hardware stores operate rental businesses as part of the primary business, and rent for public use construction tools and/or party supplies.
The major hardware cooperatives provide brand name rental advertising and support for hardware store owners including Just Ask Rental, Do It Best Rental, Grand Rental Station and Taylor Rental.
Part of the popularity of Hardware Stores is the range of services that a hardware store provides.
Most retail outlets only sell goods, while a hardware store custom-makes or repairs a large variety of household items.
It is common for a hardware store in the U.S. to repair broken windows and screens, repair power equipment such as lawn mowers, re-key entry locks, make copies of house keys and car keys, re-wire lamps and vacuum cleaners, sharpen knives and cutting tools, make minor repairs to faucet and shower parts, repair kerosene heaters and cut and thread plumbing pipe to sketch.
In Australia hardware stores specialise in home decor and include large selections of paint.
There are three major hardware companies in Australia: Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10, and Danks.
The latter of the two being retailers' co-operative these companies have many banners which their store owners trade under.
Since the acquisition of Bunnings by Wesfarmers in 1994, the big-box store concept has changed how new hardware stores are built.
In 2004, Mitre 10 built its first supercentre Mitre 10 "MEGA" with an average store size of 13,500 m2.
In the United Kingdom, hardware stores were traditionally (pre-1980s) called ironmongers, and larger, out-of-town hardware shops are called Do it yourself or DIY centres.
The three largest hardware retailers in the world are The Home Depot, Lowe's (both of the United States), and B&Q of the United Kingdom, respectively.