|Home Depot, Urban-Style|
Monday September 13, 9:34 am ET
By Selena Maranjian
One of the skills exhibited by strong, successful companies is the ability to reinvent themselves and to adapt to different situations. Call it flexibility. One could argue that PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP - News) thought outside the box and dared to focus on more than beverages when it bought the Frito-Lay snack business. Long ago, Henry Ford loosened up and agreed to sell Ford (NYSE: F - News) cars in colors other than his preferred black. Change can be good. (Although some change is more questionable -- for example, check out the auto parts store that began selling online pie toppings.)
Home Depot (NYSE: HD - News) is changing the way it does business a bit as it opens a new landmark storeâEuro¦ in Manhattan. Here are some ways that the 105,000-square-foot depot will differ from traditional big orange boxes:
Since the store is located in an old, historic building -- the former Hasbro (NYSE: HAS - News) building on 23rd Street, near Fifth Avenue -- it won't be slathered in bright orange. Instead, it will have more tasteful orange banners announcing its identity. Inside you'll find elevators, escalators and an atrium.
There will be doormen assisting customers in getting purchases into cars and taxis. Shopping carts won't be littered around any large parking lot. Instead, they won't stray far from the building itself and will be managed in-house by a cart escalator.
Since many New Yorkers own or rent apartments, you won't see aisles full of lumber, weed whackers, hoses and gutter downspouts. Instead, there will be beefed-up offerings of paint, closet organizing systems, cabinet hardware, stackable washer/dryer combos, and carpets. (Items such as drywall and lumber can be ordered for delivery.)
How is New York reacting to this new arrival? Many would-be shoppers are, of course, thrilled. But many local small businesses, such as hardware stores, locksmiths, and paint purveyors, are justifiably freaking out at the possibility that they'll be put out of business. It's hard to compete with such a big superstore, after all -- one with strong pricing power.