Surviving a Pandemic | An Interview with Ajax Supply
If you want to support your local community, remember the money you spend at your local hardware store stays right in your hometown! The Rulon Kelly Team values supporting local and we turn to Ajax Supply often for tools and hardware we need to support our real estate business. Ajax Supply offers quality products for all your DIY projects, home renovation and repairs. The Rulon Kelly Team interviewed Matt Pine, founder of Ajax Supply, to find out how he stayed afloat amidst a pandemic.
Read full interview below:
1. Tell me how long Ajax Supply has been in business and what inspired you to open the store.
We have been open for 4 years now! Before opening the store I worked as a handyman/subcontractor for local building contractors. Some days I felt like I spent 3 times as much time driving as I did working. I have always felt the need to provide a good value with my services so I took issue with billing for all my drive time when the job didn't seem worth the drive time. I talked to some other handymen and builders who said they refuse to work in Snowmass because of the lack of supplies. One night when I was doing billing my wife took issue with the fact that I was only billing for 4 hours when I was out working for over 10 hours. I went to Lowes once and Aspen 4 times that day, it felt like all I did was drive. Most of the jobs were simple and the amount that I was billing was fair for the job completed however it was me that was taking the hit for all the drive time. I was tired from working all day and now I was stressed out arguing with my wife about what is fair for me vs. fair for my customers. I wished so badly that someone would open a hardware store in Snowmass, it was the only answer that helped all parties involved. I had experience in retail, I knew how to do a lot of it, and I knew I could figure out the rest so I convinced my wife it was a good idea and we decided to go for it. I spent the next 8 months working the hardest I have ever worked, saving as much as I could, saying yes to every single job and working 16 to 18 hours a day. I had a goal and a dream and I was all in. My wife was putting the pieces together, refinancing our house, applying for loans and talking to potential landlords. A few months later we signed our lease on our current spot and there was no turning back.
2. How has the COVID-19 pandemic effected Ajax Supply?
At first it was quite bad, the first month was horrible and we took a massive loss. We had to borrow money to stay afloat. Once the local Government lifted restrictions things bounced back quite quickly. We focused heavily on COVID-19 related items and it paid off. We never sold so much cleaning and disinfecting supplies. We stocked up on masks, toilet paper, soap and anything else that was looking like it was going to run out. We have also added an office supply section due to the new demand with all the kids stuck at home. We have ramped up our camping, fishing and outdoor section due to the increased demand there. Right now business is good and we are very grateful for that, my heart goes out to those that are hurting and losing everything right now.
3. Did you have to close your doors for a period of time or were you deemed an essential business?
We never closed, once again very grateful to be deemed an essential business. We would have been bankrupt months ago if we were not.
4. Do you feel like you were busy during the quarantine with locals picking up new hobbies and various home improvement projects?
Yes absolutely, as I mentioned in question 2. We have adapted and modified our offerings in order to fulfill the new needs.
5. If you answered yes to 4, did the COVID-19 pandemic boost your business/sales?
I am not sure where we would be if there was no virus and crackdown. We just finished a remodel/expansion where we doubled our size and our rent/expenses. We were depending and counting on being up, thankfully we are. It seems like construction is down compared to last year but homeowner projects are way up. We also have a bunch of new customers that finally found us due to not wanting to leave town.
6. What services do you offer besides being our local hardware store?
In addition to being a Hardware Store we are also a full Benjamin Moore Paint Store. We also offer Camping, Fishing and Outdoor goods, Pool and Spa Supplies, Key Cutting Services, UPS Shipping, Office Supplies, as well as, simple printing/copy/fax services.
7. Do you have any plans to expand or where do you see Ajax Supply in 5 years?
Yes, as you are probably aware the Snowmass Center is supposed to be re-developed in the next couple of years. We know that once the center is complete and all the tenants are in, expansion would be next to impossible so the goal is to grow/expand as much as possible between now and then. We need to be ready for the space that we will have to be content with for the next 30 years.
For more information, please check out Ajax Supply's website: https://www.ajaxsupply.com/
16 Kearns Road Suite 210
Snowmass Village, CO 81615
Phone Number: 970-429-4329
Don't forget to follow Ajax Supply on Instagram and like them on Facebook for updates about new products and services!
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