Although Phillips Hardware has been a cornerstone of the greater Capital District since 1886, the family is working hard to make sure the business stays up-to-date.
“We don’t mind having the years to claim, but we want the stores to be modernized so people know we are alive, healthy and competing in the market,” said Jon Phillips, the fifth-generation manager of the company.
The original shop in Albany has now grown into a seven-store chain with other locations in Delmar, Colonie, Altamont, Voorheesville, Schenectady and Waterford. In the past year, five of those stores have been remodeled. Departments have been added to many of the stores, with employees cross-trained to become knowledgeable about all products and various do-it-yourself projects to provide faster service.
Phillips said the training and certification of employees in various fields is what sets them apart from the competition. And although the Phillips locations may be smaller than big box hardware stores, their size has been an advantage for customers.
“When you go into a 120,000-square-foot store, they could have five great employees, but they are spread thin,” said Phillips. “If you go to one of our 8,000-square-foot buildings, I could have one rock star employee and the perception is we have excellent service.”
The company has also introduced two new product lines. Carhartt workman’s apparel is now available in four stores, while the Stihl line of power tools can now be found in two stores.
“The nice end for us with offering those lines is they will not sell to box stores,” said Phillips. “So for us being an independent, family-style company trying to offer things to the community that other places don’t, the fact that they only sell to independent stores was a draw for us.”
The company also carries a larger variety of products than many chains in order to provide customers with a superior selection.