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JONESBORO, Ark. – A local business with over 130 years of history and a nationally successful brand is making some changes they believe their customers will love but one thing staying the same is who owns and operates the stores.
The local business is E.C. Barton & Company, founded in 1885 and based in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Their offices are on Brown’s Lane with their reach being 106 stores all over the United States by the end of the year. The Barton’s family is made up of: Barton’s Lumber Company, Grossman’s Bargain Outlet, ECB Brokerage, Barton’s Surplus Warehouse and the brand that Bargain Outlet/Surplus Warehouse are evolving into: the all new Barton’s Home Improvement brand.
Jonesboro residents may have already have noticed the local Surplus Warehouse in the Highland Drive Shopping Center undergoing re-branding. It is one of eight of the new branded storefronts debuting across the United States.
“We are thrilled to pilot our new E.C. Barton brand – Barton’s Home Improvement – in our hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas,” said Kevin Pierce, COO of E.C. Barton and Company. “The new store concept features an updated logo and enhanced in-store experience. We will continue to specialize in flooring, cabinetry, plumbing and millwork; offering the same high-quality products at the guaranteed lowest price for consumers and professionals.”
The first was a new store launching in Conway while seven other stores are transitioning from Surplus Warehouse or Bargain Outlet to Barton’s Home Improvement. Another new store in Benton is expected to open late 2019.
- Conway – July 8 2019 – new store
- Jonesboro – August 22 2019 (1st opened in August 1980)
- Erie – August 15 2019 (1st opened in December 2010)
- Warren – August 15 2019 (1st opened in July 2008)
- Olive Branch – August 15 2019 (1st opened in December 2004)
- Memphis – August 15 2019 (1st opened in June 2007)
- Pine Bluff – August 15 2019 (1st opened in January 1994)
- Benton – new store opening late 2019
Many of the stores, especially in Jonesboro, have years or even decades of relationships built in the community. That’s why it was important for existing customers to know that the ownership was not changing, said Communication Manager Danial Reed.
“Customers don’t always rely on or expect excellent customer service in a home improvement store,” Reed said. “But that’s something we pride ourselves on because when you’re talking to an employee, you’re talking to an owner. A lot of customers who didn’t know about us before find out we can offer a higher level of expertise and customer service than what they’re used to.”
The exceptional service is something existing customers don’t want to lose. One of the chief reasons behind this service is, as Reed mentioned, because employees are made partners in the company. On average, each partner works for eight years with the company and many have lasted several decades. With a staff that is literally invested in their work, it has made for a sustainable, successful growth for the Jonesboro-based business.
Now, they hope to take that solid foundation and build onto it by helping customers explore their creativity in the new Home Improvement brand.
“It’s all about the customer, their needs and meeting them where they are in their purchase journey,” Reed said.
What Are The Changes?
In the Jonesboro store, the most noticeable enhancements to the store experience are in the vignettes. There are more than 20 now, taking up an entire section with creative inspiration. Also included:
- Expansion of the design center from one to two dedicated areas
- Expansion of six existing room vignettes to an aisle of more than 20 and addition of bathroom displays
- Addition of in-stock flooring sections, in-stock cabinet lines and vanities, and additional displays and flooring product offerings available through the Spend Less Express special-order program
“Our goal is by opening it up, and making it more inviting for customers, they realize anyone can come here for their home improvement projects,” Reed said. “It’s inspirational. Seeing the displays in person helps our customers realize what they would like to do in their own home.”
The customer might be a home owner but it might also be a contractor, too. Both will benefit from the changes to the stores. Either way, Reed said another element remaining the same is the guaranteed lowest pricing on items.
“Nothing is changing in terms of our product lines and our pricing,” Reed said. “We are committed to offering high-quality products at the guaranteed lowest price at our stores.”
The interior signage may not be something consumers often think of but the company wants consumers to have an easier time than ever finding their way around the stores. Utilizing extensive research, Reed said the company placed a great amount of effort toward letting store patrons navigate and find product information more easily than ever. It’s one less mental obstacle for the consumer while their creativity flows.
“Our store carries everything you need to bring your dream kitchen, bath or home project to life,” Reed said. “The changes in our store are going to make our customers feel more confident and reduce the hassle associated with renovating a room or a home.”
A celebration of the brand and look is scheduled for the weekend of September 12 – 14, kicking off with a ribbon cutting at 10 AM on Thursday, September 12.