Sometimes the best way to deal with a down economy is to partner with old friends.
That’s what one East Tennessee business owner is doing.
Hall’s Salvage owner David Hall said his Alcoa and Sweetwater stores recently created a “factory-outlet” type relationship with a laminate floor covering company, Lamipro. He said the result will give customers a greater variety of choices at a much better price than ever before. For his business, Hall doesn’t have the up-front costs of buying large quantities of flooring in order to offer variety.
When homebuilding was booming, he grew his Hall’s Salvage business by buying up surplus from manufacturers throughout the world and passing the deals on to customers.
Business grew so strong that Hall expanded his operations five years ago and opened an Alcoa store in New Midland Plaza.
Then the world-wide slowdown touched East Tennessee, and the homebuilding industry bottomed out. This meant businesses like Hall’s felt the pinch.
While homebuilding declined, the remodeling industry came alive. “The remodeling business has kept us alive the past 18 months,” Hall said.
Hall said while giving customers good deals built his business, it was the relationships he built with suppliers that enabled him to find the bargains he passed on to patrons.
One particular relationship he fostered with a supplier is now enabling him to adjust how he gets laminate flooring. With the consignment-type agreement with Lamipro, customers are getting more choice and better prices on all types of flooring than ever before, Hall said.
“In a booming economy, manufacturers produce extra. In a flush economy, it gives us more options to find a deal. In trying to survive these economic times, everyone is having to tighten their belts and get better at what they do and be more efficient, therefore they don’t produce as much.”
In response, Hall said he and his staff opted to get better at what they do and find better deals. This meant catering more to folks remodeling their homes rather than building new ones.
Hall said that while he looks for ways to purchase merchandise made in America, he has built relationships with suppliers around the world to find bargains. “I always look in the U.S. and get prices, and in some cases, we’ll even pay a little more, but ultimately I think customers are looking to make their dollars go further,” he said. “Now we’re in a global economy. It seems all economies are related.”
Hall said he has been blessed with customers and suppliers who believe in him and his company.
Lamipro, for example, saw the potential and approached Hall with a consignment proposal. “We don’t have to pay until product is sold. That in itself allows us to operate on margins much closer than in the past, which means our customers get much better deals,” he said.
Hall said this adds another dimension of products he can offer in his store. “We can offer more colors and designs because of the risk-free arrangement we have,” he said. “Because of the quality and price, we should sell more than we ever have.”
Customers will notice a difference in store too. “We’ve made personnel changes, and we’re trying hard to a better job at customer service than ever before,” he said.
Hall’s Salvage also takes their commitment to the communities where they are located seriously. In Alcoa, Hall has been a supporter of the SlimFest free community concert to benefit area charities like the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 9 Shop with a Cop program and the athletic booster clubs of Alcoa and Maryville high schools.
“Slimfest is right here in our backyard and we thank everyone in the community for supporting it. It was great to see all the generosity of those who attended and what it does for the kids of this community.”