Talking Shop Dennis Carpenter, Tri-River Ace
April 29, 2014
Dennis Carpenter, owner of Tri-River Ace Hardware, 720 Tyler Avenue, Kremmling
How long have you been in business? 39 years
How did you get started in this business? Local lumber yard went out of business, we started hauling in product to serve the construction industry
Business mission statement: It is not our business, we are just stewards of it. Customer service
Challenges to business mission:
“Remembering the customer is not always right, but is always the customer.”
Success in the mission: Improving daily
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Challenges to the mission: Remembering the customer is not always right, but is always the customer.
How do you cope with Grand County's seasonal surges? Plan ahead from experience of the previous years. ACE HARDWARE is always planning six months ahead
What do you think is the biggest business barrier in Grand County? The thought process by people that we are priced higher than the metro area and big box stores.
What do you think is your biggest business barrier on a state and/or national level? Non-business people in positions of leadership
What can government here do to help? Buy local and do not compete with the local businesses
How does your business give back to the community? We pride ourselves in being community-orientated and supporting the churches, 4-H clubs, schools, Middle Park Fair, the Demo Derby, fire department, chamber of commerce, Scouts, EEA.
Give examples of how you are environmentally responsible. We respect what has been given to us and take care of our environment. We work with the town and the Trash Co. to provide a one-stream recycling service free of charge. We also provide the service of recycling motor batteries, as well as used motor oil and CFL light bulbs. With our new paint department, we have water-base colorants which makes our paint low VOC and some VOC-free.
How do you support other local businesses? Always try to buy locally, respect their strong suits in business and build on each other's strengths.
How do you feel about direct competition? It is America, home of the free.
What business products or services do you get outside of Grand County? Only what we can not get here or in Grand County and always trying to buy "Made in the U.S.A."
How do you market yourself? Customer service, newspaper, radio, National Brand Name (ACE, CARQUEST), TV, ACE Rewards, an in-store winner every day as well as social media, a website, craft days for kids, and ladies night.
What's the main thing you have you learned in your years in business? Things always are changing and to work at keeping up with those changes.
Where do you go for help when you need it? Prayer, family, friends, other business people in the same fields as us.
Who is your biggest business influence/mentor? God and His Word
What do you think is the most significant economic driver in Grand County? We have always said tourism, but I think we get help through the airports and broadband
What's the best compliment you received from a customer? "Thank you, I'll be back," and that we become friends
How much of a role does technology play in your business? The day of Big CHIEF tablet and pencils are long-gone,
What are the technology challenges in your business? Updates, continuing connections and speed
What's the general key to making a customer? That they leave our business feeling better than when they came in
Is their any certain trend you've noticed in consumer habits lately? We are all looking to spread our dollar as far as we can
What are some tricks such as signs or window displays that you've noticed work in attracting customers to your front door? Come by and we will show you
What are some ways to keep up staff morale? WE are a team, we learn together, help each other and are friends
What are some ways you train your staff on an ongoing basis? We cross train each other and have Webinars, regional and national training meetings
If you could give advice to a novice entrepreneur, what would it be? Study your market, work with your competition to not overlap, and know your product
Editor's Note: For this weekly feature, the Sky-Hi News recently partnered with the Grand County Economic Development Department and its "I Am Grand" campaign, which will aid the Sky-Hi's effort to learn the challenges and successes of doing business in Grand County.