Brandon Smith is everywhere for Potter's Ace Home Centers, a 19-store operation based in a town of just 2,000 people on the Cumberland Plateau. Not only is he the spokesman in the company's television and radio commercials, but he visits all of the company's locations every two weeks.
First Things First Each morning I arrive to work around 6:30 and the first thing I do is check my e-mail. From there I will be in constant contact with our individual store managers, corporate management, and vendor partners throughout the week. I analyze our transaction data on a weekly basis and sales information on a monthly basis.
Traveling Man All our stores are within 108 miles of our Jamestown, Tenn., headquarters, so it's not too hard. When I am not on the road I am in my office answering e-mails, working on projects, planning our upcoming marketing, and researching expansion possibilities.
Key Qualities You can feel overwhelmed at times if you cannot delegate well. Time management is critical in order to focus your attention where it is needed most.
Local Celebrity At times people I run into at the grocery store will mention they saw me on TV. I tell them
I hope it brings in more people than it runs off. But all joking aside, I think it is important that our marketing plan remain diversified and include TV commercials in addition to radio, newspapers, and an occasional billboard.
Black Friday We participate in the Ace Hardware "After Thanksgiving Sale," which offers some fantastic Black Friday doorbuster deals. We always open our stores around 7 a.m., but during this sale we have had customers waiting in our parking lot for the doors to open so they can take advantage of the deals. The sale doesn't impact our overall sales numbers much, but it is a good way to bring in new customers.
No Minor Jobs The primary challenge we face in operating a large chain of home centers is keeping our stores staffed with good people. Every position in our company is important.
My Yardsticks All businesses want profit, but it all starts with a sale. Sales are the lifeblood of our business and are the most important number for me. However, our business must have profitable sales, and by that I mean that we are not going to play the game where we sell building materials under cost and hope to make it up somewhere else. Retail is simple: You keep your costs down, you keep a relevant and efficient inventory, and you give the customer a great experience.