Straight Talk: Adapting Business Strategies [Video]
NORTHBROOK, Ill.—June 11, 2020—In this edition of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross, Jon Phillips, owner of Phillips Hardware in Albany, N.Y., discusses how to adapt business strategies and serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Phillips believes an important aspect of doing business at any time is partnering both with other companies and with organizations in the community in order to serve both your customers and your neighbors. During the pandemic, he has developed new relationships with a network of suppliers and distributors that he can call on to help fulfill his customers’ needs, even as products run short.
As common retail cleaning supplies began to sell out, Phillips started researching alternative products and partnered with new distributors to ensure a steady supply chain for his customers. Rather than rely on product deliveries, Phillips drives his own box truck to pick up products wherever he can find them, and if he can’t immediately fulfill a customer’s need, he takes the info and does the leg work required to find an equivalent product whenever possible. Phillips says in the pandemic, retailers have to be open to new products: “We’re going to have to be really open to being educated on what is the best process to keep your place sanitized and disinfected, and to do that, we’re going to have to be open to reeducating ourselves in the products we can use.”
Phillips believes community involvement is an important business strategy for any company. During the pandemic, his company has been involved in food drives, fundraisers, and other initiatives to help people in need. As a retailer, he has been able to prioritize getting product to day care facilities, healthcare facilities, and non-profits to ensure he’s serving the community in the best way possible during this crisis. Phillips also leverages the strategic relationships he has developed with suppliers to get products fast, especially when they are needed for a specific community outreach event. When asked about some of the unique ways Phillips has adapted his business strategies to go above and beyond during the pandemic, he says, “It’s a neighborhood hardware store, so we’ll survive as a village taking care of everybody around us, and they’ll look out for us as well.”
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