Hitchcock Jr. purchased the business from his father when he was in his early twenties, having worked in the store since he was 15. Now, with 48 years of industry experience under his belt, Hitchcock Jr. looks to improve the stores’ inventory while upgrading the business to serve e-commerce customers. Miami Home Centers offers its entire catalog of products on its website for business-to-business clients and a consumer-driver e-commerce site is coming soon.
“We’ve been up to speed,” Hitchcock Jr. says. “We believe we have the newest and fastest, but as we speak technology is changing. Where it’s going to end up even two years from now is going to be different. I believe the industry is trying to be web-based and we are keeping up with that.”
Despite the industry becoming more e-commerce driven, Hitchcock Jr. says that nothing can change the personal relationship you feel when you come shop at a store in person. Miami Home Centers strives to develop a personal relationship with each one of its customers so it can better serve their needs and show off all the exclusive items it has to offer.
“We always try to stay current with everything new that’s coming out,” Hitchcock Jr. says. “We are always looking for new and creative items that only we’ll have and to keep on doing what we’re doing, along with our personal service.”
Miami Home Centers recently joined the True Value family to provide an extensive line of Benjamin Moore and Easy Care paint, which are high-selling, popular paint lines in the home improvement industry. “People come in for a hammer, but then they see we have Benjamin Moore,” Hitchcock Jr. says. “That’s the one major area you can’t really buy online, so as a business competing with the big-box stores, you have to put all of your effort into that.”
But Miami Home Centers didn’t join True Value just for the paint. Many independent companies join co-ops such as True Value so they can offer more name-brand products. Miami Home Centers’ former co-op wasn’t allowing it to capture all the profit of selling its co-op’s product, so it found a much better co-op partner in True Value, Hitchcock Jr. relates. This allows independent companies to sell True Value products in-store and via their companies’ websites without rerouting all sales to True Value’s website to nab the sale from the independent retailer.
“If you want to be independent, you need to have your website up and start selling so you can capture all the profit,” Hitchcock Jr. explains. “So, this is why I left one co-op for another. True Value doesn’t do that.”
Aside from well-known paint brands, Miami Home Centers offers customers some special products, such as a vast selection of items in its upscale kitchen and bath showroom, high-end Christmas decorations, specially sized air conditioning filters and the top-selling Green Egg ceramic barbecue grill.
Hitchcock Jr. says the mix of products today is completely different from what it was 20 years ago because Miami Home Centers is always moving with the times. “The moral of the story,” he says, “is in order to be successful in this industry, you have to find your niches no matter what it is.”