A.D. Moyer Flourishes Despite Home Depot

Sunday, June 18, 2000
A.D. Moyer Flourishes Despite Home Depot

Pottstown, PA – A.D. Moyer Lumber & Hardware with locations in Gilbertsville, Pottstown, and Douglassville not only celebrated their 60th year of business in 1999; it was also their best sales year ever. This feat, in itself, is noteworthy. Throw into the mix the fact that an 114,000 square foot Home Depot opened directly across the street from their Pottstown location in April of 1999, and the feat could be considered remarkable.

So how exactly did this modern day David and Goliath drama come to pass? According to A.D. Moyer's Director of Marketing and Estimating, Ron Schock, the key ingredients are preparation, dedication, and quality. 

A.D. Moyer began preparing for the opening of a Home Depot or Lowe’s as far back as 1995. Although there were no definite plans in place at that time by either home improvement “giant” to locate in Pottstown, sources from the Servistar Corporation (now True Value) of which A.D. Moyer is a member, knew that it was merely a matter of time until a home center warehouse opened in or near Pottstown.

Schock spent several months and multiple hours on the internet researching how other independent lumber dealers across the nation reacted who were faced with similar situations. A list of probable dealers of similar size and product mix to A.D. Moyer was then compiled. These business owners or managers were contacted either by phone or Email and interviewed. In addition, information was gathered from A.D. Moyer’s affiliate, Moyer Lumber of Bethlehem, which has been operating successfully with a Home Depot less than a block away since 1994.

A report was then compiled containing his findings that compared what the dealers that succeeded did differently than those who failed. A.D. Moyer’s management group, including owners Scott and Terry Moyer, then went over every detail and formed a plan that they felt would allow them to continue to grow with the existence of a Home Depot.

This plan, according to Scott Moyer, involved a reorganization of the company on a small scale, concentrating their focus and efforts. “We are fortunate to have a very tight-knit team of employees here who care about this company as if it were their own. That is a key ingredient to our success that cannot be stressed enough. None of the changes that our management team proposed would have mattered or even been possible if the employees hadn’t believed in the company and the plan themselves” said Moyer.

According to Terry Moyer, they knew that they would lose some of their do-it-yourself retail traffic, some of which was gained a year earlier when Rickel’s home center chain went out of business. A.D. Moyer’s efforts, in turn, were directed primarily to the professional builder without deserting the quality conscious do-it-yourselfer. Terry Moyer cited such adjustments as increasing the companies outside sales staff, and investing in more specialized equipment such as a knuckle boom truck and computerized estimating system among others.

Another way A.D. Moyer chose to compete was by not competing at all. Rather than keep the same brand names that the Home Depot sells, they changed to other brands of tools and other hardware items geared toward the professional. Specialty services and loyal customers are yet another quality that Scott Moyer feels attribute to the company’s success. “We specialize in custom millwork and custom ordered items, offer free delivery, and many other services that Home Depot cannot. We are also fortunate to have a strong customer base of loyal individuals and companies including do-it-yourselfer’s, builders, developers, local businesses and commercial accounts who have dealt with us for many years and appreciate what we are about and what we can offer.” he said.

A misconception of the public is that A.D. Moyer and Home Depot share the same customers. “Our clientele only overlap approximately 15%. We are far more specialized than a Home Depot can possibly be just by their very nature. That brings us a completely different type of customer who is looking for more, and that’s where we focus.” 

A.D. Moyer’s marketing campaign for 1999 centered on their new slogan,“It’s all about quality”. It wasn’t just a slogan and logo to put on their new sign and in advertisements; it has long been their way of doing business. “That’s what it really came down to when we broke it all down” he said. “We asked ourselves why people shop with A.D. Moyer instead of Home Depot? The answer was because we keep higher quality products at a fair price, some of the best-trained people in the industry, and we strive for exceptional service.”

A.D. Moyer’s confidence in doing battle with Home Depot across the street came from two major factors. The first factor was that A.D. Moyer sends multiple daily deliveries to the Reading and King of Prussia markets, the virtual back yard of existing Home Depots. The second is that Home Depot was directly across the street from their Pottstown Store. “We are much better off with them being across the street than across town. We’ve found that their existence actually has brought us more customers in some departments than we had before. New customers from outside the area that were drawn to this end of Pottstown by the Home Depot, didn’t like what they found or couldn’t get the right information, and came over to us.”

Overall however, it’s the builders who have unequivocally carried A.D. Moyer through. “They are the mainstay of our business and we make sure that we have the products, people, and equipment to take care of them better. On that playing field, Home Depot can’t compete with us,” said Schock.

A.D. Moyer employs approximately 110 full and part time employees, five of whom just celebrated 25 years of service with the company. A long list of others have been with the company for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years as the plaques hanging above their store’s sales counters indicate. With the first months of 2000 showing continued growth for the company, It appears that A.D. Moyer has found a way to not only co-exist with Home Depot’s presence, but to also flourish.


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