Big-Box Hardware Stores vs. Boutique Stores

When you think of home improvement or hardware stores, which ones come to mind? The Home Depot and Lowe’s, right? Both stores have built a solid reputation and following on being enormous one-stop shops for all of your home improvement needs. However, these big-box hardware stores are sometimes lacking in one area that smaller stores, such as Ace Hardware, excel at – over-the-top, attentive customer service from experts.

When you walk into a big-box hardware store such as The Home Depot or Lowe’s, it’s a bit overwhelming. Where do you find what you’re looking for? What if you don’t even know what you’re looking for? After you wander the aisles a while, you eventually start looking for someone to help you find what you need. Most employees are nowhere to be found – even when you do find one to help, you sometimes ask yourself if they are really experts in their field or truly understand your needs.

In contrast, walking into Ace Hardware is a completely different experience. While much smaller in scale and perhaps a little less “popular,” Ace Hardware offers a superior customer service experience. You’re usually greeted at the door by an employee asking what they can help you find. From there, they learn your needs and come up with a solution tailored specifically to you – not to mention these people are experts in all things hardware and home improvement, so they usually teach you how to use everything you buy as well. After all, they are “the helpful place,” as their slogan touts.

Now, you’re probably wondering why we are writing an entire blog post comparing big-box hardware stores to smaller ones. At AGT, we often refer to ourselves as the “Ace Hardware” of the A/V industry. While we are not as big as other A/V integration firms in terms of the number of locations, clients or employees we have, we pride ourselves on taking care of our customers at any cost and being experts in our field. We strive to find solutions tailored to our customers’ needs, budgets and timelines, and we work with them with a common goal in mind – to help them collaborate in a way that works best for them. We have worked with many of our customers for over a decade. To us, it is about quality of service over quantity of clients or projects.

Which would you rather have for your A/V integration needs – a popular “big-box” firm or a smaller specialty firm? Let us know your thoughts below!