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Thanks to the popularity of home improvement programming on television, the last boom in the housing market and an influx of home repair magazines and media, the home renovation retail business is absolutely thriving. After watching how-to design programs on television and reading how-to articles in design magazines, homeowners are rushing out for paint, lumber, wiring and anything else they need for their next weekend project.
Another factor contributing to the surging interest in DIY home improvement are the costs of labor and contractors. As the expense of hiring help goes up, homeowners are increasingly likely to take on a project themselves, thus sending them to their local hardware retailer to stock up on needed supplies.
These same local hardware stores have gone from small shops to major, national retailers with huge chain networks. Examples of some of the larger home improvement stores include Lowe’s Home Improvement, The Home Depot, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, Ace Hardware, Do It Best and Fred Meyer. These retailers can be found almost all over the United States and continue to expand into Canada, Europe and Asia.
The Best and Biggest Home Improvement Stores
As the largest in the country, The Home Depot is the hardware retailer of choice for the United States. Headquartered in Georgia, The Home Depot employs over 350,000 people and operates over 2,100 stores all over the world, including China. Second only to Wal-Mart for retail power in the United States, The Home Depot is the giant of home hardware supplies.
Lowe’s is the second largest hardware and home renovation retailer in the United States. Focusing their business model on service, Lowe’s takes aim at retaining a local store feeling. The Lowe’s chain began in North Carolina in 1946 as a single store and now operates over 1400 stores in the U.S. The chain is looking to expand into Canada and Mexico.
Another competitor that focuses on customer service and local emphasis is The True Value Company. By concentrating on quality service and extensive how-to programs, True Value is attempting to win over customers from large competitors like Home Depot or Lowe’s. True Value is also unique because it operates as a cooperative, meaning it is owned by its members. Essentially, it is a member-owned wholesaler and therefore is often able to deliver lower prices.
Finally, there’s Ace Hardware. A leader in global sales, Ace Hardware is also a cooperative, meaning most of their stores are owned and operated by a local dealer who owns a financial stake in the larger company.