Hardware store prepping for increase in people tackling home improvement projects

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - As people stay home during the novel coronavirus pandemic, there is at least one business looking forward to people spending more time around the house.

Hardware stores like True Value North Liberty have stocked up on spring items, and ownership says they could see more people tackle home improvement projects as more people are homebound due to the novel coronavirus. Photo date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)

Hardware stores are hoping people start to do some home improvement projects, both inside and outside the house. One store in North Liberty has already been stocking up for spring and home improvement projects.

"Springtime is our Christmas season," Doug Christner, the owner and president of True Value North Liberty, said. "That's our biggest time of the year. That's what we really focus on."

So far heading into the spring, customers have been looking for different items than normal.

"It's going to be months before we get dust masks back in probably," Christner said. "It will be, who knows before we get the hand sanitizer and some of the other disinfecting products."

With many more people homebound than normal, the store has brought in in as many spring-related products as they can.

"We are really well stocked for spring," Christner said. "We are kind of stocked to the gills, as they would say, with all the lawn and garden products."

Even ownership admits though, with pandemonium around a pandemic, that could change fast.

"There's always a shortage of truck drivers anyhow and a number of them are shutting down," Christner said.

With potential stay-at-home orders looming, that could make things even more difficult, so the store is expanding their option to meet those people more easily, while also preparing to pick up items themselves, if necessary.

"We're also offering the curbside pickup and delivery as needed- people that are really too nervous to get out," Christner said. "If they call us up, we'll work something out. We'll get what they need."

Creating the ultimate challenge for hardware stores this spring season: meeting demand while meeting customers where they are at. Christner said they are ready for it.

"There might be times where might have to just say: 'ok, hey, we'll come and pick it up where it's at, we'll just come get it and bring it in,'" Christner said. "Because again, you can't sell from an empty wagon. You got to have product in the store to sell. And that'll be our goal."