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December 2012

Days Gone By: Nostalgia Can Help Small Businesses Bloom

By Small Business Tips, Uncategorized

Mom & Pop Hardware Stores Have Something Mass Merchants Don’t – Character

If you hired a top-shelf marketing guru to guide you through a new ad campaign, do you think they would suggest you label your product “Idiot Proof?” Likely a big no-no today, but it was popular in the early days of PC-Products, when we didn’t need to worry about being politically correct, and the occasional inane or frank comment was appreciated or chuckled at. If I were picking a new or untried epoxy repair product, and I was unsure of the outcome of my efforts, “idiot-proof” sounds pretty darned good to me. And no offense taken at all!

It is beginning to feel that times are again changing. People are horrendously tired of the giant box stores populated with non-English speaking or bored/detached salespeople. They yearn for the appeal of days gone by. Nostalgia for the past can breathe new life into smaller stores, and give them a big edge over the factory-feel of the heftier competition.

Owner of Ernst & Sons of Massachusetts, Rod Ernst says modestly of his continued success, “We’ve held on well and done okay.” The 78 year-old shopkeeper took over store operations from his father in 1973. His grandfather opened the store 107 years ago and passed it on to Rod’s father.

Inside the Ernst & Son’s store it is a bit like a time capsule. Not much has changed in the store over the past 50 years. Rustic old wooden floors line the aisles, tools and equipment hang on the wall as they always have, and a beautiful old-fashioned cash register sits regally on the counter. Due to their ambiance and great customer service, Ernst & Son managed to retain their market share after the invasion of larger stores in the late 1970’s and beyond.

Many other mom and pop stores are cultivating their nostalgia-factor in order to remain competitive and unique. In today’s economy, increasing numbers of families are pinching dollars and doing more home improvement projects on their own. They want answers to all their little questions, they want personal attention, and they want a knowledgeable source to give it to them. This is something big box stores just can’t provide.

Mutch Hardware in North Mankato, MN specializes in providing folks with that hard-to-find-item, it’s even becoming their unique selling proposition that they use to attract customers to their store.

Small businesses need to keep such uniqueness in mind. Provide a niche that the big boys can’t. Stick together, think smart, and have pride in what you have always done, and will continue to do. That’s American character!

Is Epoxy Dangerous? PC Product Facts You Can Count On

By Uncategorized, Uses for Epoxy

We think most folks have a fairly adequate amount of common sense when it comes to epoxy applications. If you follow the directions, it’s pretty much a cake walk. However, we do get a few unusual questions from time to time regarding the safety of epoxy putties and pastes. Before we get into what you CAN do safely with our PC Epoxy products, let’s talk briefly about a few things you probably shouldn’t do, even if you’re a thrill junkie.

Do not:

  • Use it to fix your grandmother’s dentures
  • Use it as a low calorie alternative to peanut butter
  • Attempt to bedazzle your skin or hair with it
  • Use it to make a mold of any of your body parts
  • Inhale as many vapors as you can just to see what happens

While the resin components of epoxy products are rarely a problem, some of the hardening agents are irritants to skin, and can exude certain fumes that are not advisable to inhale. A good set of latex gloves and proper ventilation should take care of any possible issue.

**The most common adverse affect of working with epoxy products is a possible poison ivy-like rash which can develop. However, this usually occurs only after a long period of time with repeated direct skin contact with the products, resulting from a disregard for safety procedures.

PC Epoxy is Safe For:

  • Use in aquariums. Best to remove the fish before working in the aquarium and until the product cures – after curing it is non-toxic to aquatic life.
  • Use on grills. Certain epoxy products, like PC-Fahrenheit,are formulated specifically for use in high-heat situations, and will not become volatile when you are cooking that steak.
  • Use in plumbing fixtures. PC Plumbing has been determined safe by NSF for contact with potable water as a repair product in typical plumbing applications.
  • Use in fridges and freezers to repair broken drawers, etc.

General Epoxy Rule of Thumb

Epoxy is so widely used for home repairs, boatbuilding, woodworking, aircraft construction and repair, truck body repair, and so much more that it’s important to understand how to use it safely.

When working with epoxy products, the key takeaway is that most products are non-toxic, AFTER CURING. When you are mixing and applying any epoxy product, just make sure you follow the label instructions. Once it’s cured- just about anything goes!