By Alex Gladu, IWS Content Team
With more than 85 years of experience, the Taylor family knows a thing or two about small business ownership and the hardware industry. Thanks to three generations of local-minded businessmen, Taylor’s Do it Center has grown from an experimental venture among good friends into a region-wide brand with 11 locations in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. And while this growth has required the family to change its strategy, its commitment to the community has remained perfectly intact.
In 1927, Robert Taylor set out with four friends, less than $2,000 in capital and an old Ford truck to try something new. He wanted to offer excellent products at value prices with stellar customer service – and with Taylor’s Do it Center, he did just that. Since then, his successors in the Taylor’s family have only increased the excellent product line and the number of locations, while staying true to what they call Taylor’s Golden Rule: “To serve our customers as we ourselves would like to be served.”
Today, Taylor’s stores are known for their convenient locations, friendly employees and outdoor greenhouses with fresh plants and flowers. Recently, Joe Taylor (pictured above; left) president and CEO of Taylor’s Do it Center, was named an Industry Top Gun by Hardware Retailing Magazine and the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) for his success in the independent hardware business. Joe has helped his family’s company expand despite the recession and rev up advertising efforts to effectively compete with big boxes.
To Joe, now is the perfect time for independent businesses to come together and invest in outreach to take on the national chains and big boxes. He and his family know better than most the value that independent businesses bring to the community, and they hope to share that with consumers and fellow business owners.
“We really are the fabric and the backbone of the community,” he says. “If you consider fundraisers or charity events, it’s always the small businesses out there supporting that event.”
To demonstrate the value of local businesses to members of the community, Joe believes the younger generations have to be a priority. “When you talk about the consumer today, the younger generations have grown up with big boxes and national chains, whereas in my generation, it was all independent businesses when we were young,” he says. “So it’s important to educate the younger generations along with the older folks that independent businesses are an important fabric to the community.”
If anyone knows what the small business community needs, it’s the man behind a generations-old business. Joe and the rest of the Taylor family have stayed true to their company’s old-fashioned values, but they’ve managed to keep up with the most modern of big businesses.