Think Outside The Big Box

Think Outside The Big Box

It’s lunchtime at Franklin’s (True Value) Hardware Store on a Wednesday afternoon in Woodland Hills, CA and the parking lot behind the store is pretty full.  But, there’s always an easy spot to grab and thankfully it’s a short walk to the store.  I’m in great physical shape and don’t mind a long walk if I’m exercising.  But, I hate most things supersized – sugary beverages, fast food and giant parking lots like those found at big box retail stores – no thank you!  I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost 30 years now but I am from the New York City area.  So, I like things that are fast, convenient and easy.

I’m pretty helpless when it comes to fixing things around my house.  But, I don’t call a plumber when the toilet won’t stop running or the door knob is jammed.  I am moderately handy with really small repairs, paint jobs, etc. But, the thing is I can’t do most repairs without some kind of help or guidance, which is why I love Franklin’s.

When you walk into their store, someone greets you within 30-60 seconds to ask if you need help with anything from finding the right product to getting a short consultation on your repair project.  I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1994 and Franklin’s has always been my go-to store for all things related to home improvement whether it’s electrical, lighting, plumbing, hardware, carpentry, gardening supplies or just getting a set of duplicate keys.  The simple reason for this is their customer service is fantastic and they provide a wide range of services for the average home repair.

About twenty years ago, large big box retailers like Home Depot and Orchard Supply Hardware set up stores and mom-and-pop neighborhood hardware stores started shutting their doors.  But Franklin’s survived. Since 1952, it has survived by providing outstanding customer service when you walk in the door.  They offer a wide array of specialty services and carry a large enough range of products that most homeowners can find exactly what they need in their store.

I have gotten lost in Home Depot stores standing almost 6’ tall amongst their giant shelves, long empty walk ways, and lack of floor personnel. I have said that you could drop dead in their stores and it could be awhile before someone found you.  Well, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration. But, hey, I’m from New York.  We want everything bigger, better and right away.

So if you’re thinking of convenience, remember there’s probably a local True Value in your neighborhood.  As a retailer-owned hardware cooperative with over 5,000 independent retail locations worldwide, they offer much of what the big box stores offer for a reasonable price and with incredibly helpful customer service.

Jonathan Goldhill

Jonathan Goldhill, Founder/Head Coach of The Goldhill Group, provides strategic business, marketing and sales coaching and consulting to owners, managers and salespeople of growing companies in the green industry.  Learn more at

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