Marking its 30th year in St. Charles Parish, Hartman’s True Value Hardware stands as one of the parish’s longtime businesses built on selling quality, brand merchandise that keep customers coming back.
“Our biggest goal is offering well-known brands and brands you can trust, whether it’s in our paint or handheld tools,” said Store Manager Eddie Hartman. “We partner with the best possible. We offer quality.’
As the third generation of the Hartman family operating the Boutte store, Hartman said brand and customer service are two key elements in the store’s growth and future.
In addition to selling quality brands, Hartman’s True Value, at 13171 U.S. 90, Boutte, strives to give the best service possible.
“Like with Toro or Stihl, you’re talking about the two most sold pieces of equipment worldwide and, clearly, they’re doing something right,” said Store Hartman said. “We’ve been partnering with them 30 years and seeing those sales grow year after year, and set those alliances in stone.”
This longstanding relationship carries over into customer loyalty, he said.
“We mix the paint and service the mowers here,” Hartman said. “We offer services on the back end, which is a relationship with customers that lasts years.”
Hartman emphasized the store also is still here 30 years because of customer loyalty, as well as their dedication to shopping local.
“Ninety percent of local, smaller stores are owned by people who live in the parish and do other business in the parish,” he said. “We’re not farming our dollars out. It’s about supporting the local economy.”
The Hartman family’s roots run deep in the parish, too.
“Some of our customers have known me since I was 5 years old,” Hartman said. “Each one of us who has managed the store has brought something more and changed it a bit. I’m a Millennial and it gives it a different spin. We’re open to trying new things to bring in new customers.”
Hartman estimated nearly 75 percent of today’s customers come in prepared to buy.
“I would say they’ve done some kind of online research prior to stepping in the door,” he said. “The questions they’re asking you they’ve already read up on and I’m guessing they’ve already made up their mind on what they are going to buy, and are looking to you to reaffirm it.”
They come to the store for expertise about those items and it affirms the purchase.
Hartman said they want to see that equipment start and run the way it’s supposed to.
Whether it’s a customer who needs a lot of information or one who just wants to the equipment run, he said they are prepared to personalize the store experience to each customer.
“We also show you how to start the saw and run it,” Hartman said. “By the time you go home, you have a pretty good idea of how to use that equipment. We’re never going to sell you a piece of equipment in a box.”
Hartman’s employees can instruct and ensure the customer gets the most of the equipment, he said.
“It’s a service industry,” Hartman said. “Service is the most powerful aspect of that relationship, as well as the quality of the goods. The service is the backbone of it.”