Change is Constant 02/06/2012

Start Small

One of the small changes that we've made over the past few months is that we painted over some of the plastic behind the counter. The former owner had worked with one of Mt. Pleasant's brilliant architects to figure out a way to hide the gas and electric meters that are on that wall. They put up translucent sheets of plastic over the wall with a shaded figure of a giant wrench. We had a couple of foam core signs framed up there showing our prices on knife rental and key cutting, but we were letting a lot of great space go unused.

For those of you who have visited our store, you know we hate unused space. We attack it like banshees. In this case, we couldn't put any product on the plastic because that's where we stand when we run the counter. We decided we would put in large signs, sort of like the menus you see at Burger King or McDonalds. Then we saw what our next door neighbor Heller's had done with their new signs. They've got huge chalkboards along their back wall, but they also put up about 6 new framed enamel signs that they can use neon wet markers on. It really looks great. We started looking at different vendors that we thought would let us do something similar. We know it more than most, but necessity is the mother of invention.


We pulled some chalkboard paint off the wall and tried it out on those plastic sheets. It worked perfectly. We replaced the three panels at eye level and removed the panels that are closer to the ceiling. Now we have colorful and informative signage (it looks pretty Old School, too) that lists our prices on rental equipment, key cutting and knife sharpening. The panels that we moved up top gave us new room to store our Power Tools so people can see that we do carry Power Tools.

All in all, it's a pretty straightforward solution that cost us a lot less than it might have if we had tried to buy something from a retail supply store. If you have a big family at home, or live in a group home, you can buy a can of chalkboard paint and make your own fun bulletin board.

High-Tech Change

One other small change we've brought into the store recently is our addition of a Transit Information Screen. We're working with the DC Mobility Lab to pilot test the installation of these screens in private businesses across the city. We think our customers and our neighbors will appreciate being able to quickly see bus and metro arrival times, as well as nearby CaBi station availability. We hope you'll give us feedback on the screen that we can share with the Mobility Lab.

We'll keep trying to come up with new ideas to make our store better and to make your visit to our store interesting, fun, and productive. We hope you'll share your ideas and feedback with us.

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