Customer Feedback Leads Handyman Supply to Struthers
STRUTHERS, Ohio – When the owners of Handyman Supply started searching for a location for their next stores, they decided to ask the people who know best: their customers.
As they surveyed customers, co-owners Toma and Jamie Leveto saw plenty of responses suggesting new stores throughout the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, but the feedback ultimately led the owners of the locally owned hardware store to choose 1022 Fifth St. in Struthers.
By having an additional, similarly designed Handyman store in Struthers like the ones in Champion, Niles and Austintown, residents won’t have to drive far to meet their hardware needs, Jamie Leveto said at the grand opening of the Struthers store.
“I know that if I was local, I would be excited not to have to travel [U.S. Route] 224,” she said. “It was just a dire need in this area, so they’re happy to have us and we’re happy to be here.”
Carl Leveto opened the first Handyman store in Champion in 1975 and the Niles store followed five years later.
“We’re excited to be here,” Toma Leveto said. “The community has been very good and excited we’re here as well. We look forward to being here for decades to come.”
Business has been going well since the soft opening of in July of Handyman Supply of Struthers, said Jamie Leveto. Sales are already at half those at the Niles store, which is on U.S. Route 422 not far from the Eastwood Mall, she added.
“We had, over the years, so many new tenants that have joined us at Struthers Plaza,” said Tony Cafaro Sr., retired CEO of the Cafaro Company. “With the attention and the service [the Levetos] provide, it’s going to be a whole new experience.”
The Cafaro Company owns Struthers Plaza, built in 1961.
A $500,000 investment went towards the building alone, Toma Leveto said. Even though the store is a franchise of Ace Hardware, it is larger than the average size of an Ace, he added.
The building in Struthers is 15,000 square feet, double the size of the average Ace store, he said. This allows for more products for customers, more services and to be able to be a step above the rest, he added.
Customers have access to power equipment, small engine, window and screen repairs, pipe threading, custom paint mixing and an in-house glass shop at the Struthers location. The store is also a Benjamin Moore & Co. dealer, so along with the Ace brands, specialties from the paint business are available.
“We’re very fluent in paint,” Leveto said. “Lawn and garden is giant for us and plumbing. Hardware never stops. We’re a king of nuts and bolts.”
Filling propane tanks is an additional service offered at the Struthers location, Leveto said.
Being a smaller chain allows for business to be easily maintained without making unwanted sacrifices, Leveto said. But, he is not shying away from future expansion plans he has in the works.
“We’re definitely here to stay and there’s always possibilities of expansion,” he said. “I can’t say now, but we are looking at some plans here within a couple of years for more expansion.”
The opening of the Handyman store in Struthers comes as other new businesses are preparing to open in the Struthers Plaza.
A 9,000-square-foot Dollar Tree opened Aug. 29 and preparations are underway for a Family Dollar, which will be 9,700 square feet adjacent to the Dollar Tree. It is scheduled to open in December.
“You can make your dollars here, you can buy your dollars here better than anywhere else in the entire Mahoning Valley,” Cafaro said. “The people from Struthers have to patronize this facility. If these tenants do well, we will be most successful in bringing additional tenants here.”
Pictured: Jamie and Toma Leveto opened Handyman Supply’s fourth store in Struthers after surveying customers about where they’d like to see a store.
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.