Lyle’s storewide remodel has “sparked phenomenal changes,” co-owner Sue Schinke said.
By Andy Kriege, YSN
The power of transformation is indeed very real. Last fall, AVB Makeover winner Lyle’s TV and Appliance in Elkhorn, Wisc., changed their store and in turn changed the trajectory of their business.
I spent a few days working alongside owners Tom and Sue Schinke, helping with the showroom remodel this past October. The Schinke’s would be the first to admit that their store was long overdue for an update and that most of what we did in the Makeover was already on the “to-do” list. Winning the AVB Makeover: Store Edition contest provided the spark that helped take their business to another level.
Indeed, the revamp has been the catalyst that has brought many changes to the store, all of which have added to the business’s bottom line. I caught back up with Sue this week to touch base on how things were going at Lyle’s nearly five months after we finished the project.
Sue tells me that sales have increased steadily since the store “reopened” and that there is still a buzz over their newly transformed showroom. “The local news media has been all over the story and we have gotten a ton of publicity that has helped to push people in the door,” Sue said. “The Makeover sparked phenomenal changes at the store, and the attention we have received has been priceless!”
If the perception in the community had been that Lyle’s was just another small-town mom-and-pop, the new look has blown that notion out of the water. The Makeover included new flooring, paint, lifestyle signage and merchandising layout, and totally transformed the space where it showcases its consumer electronics. Now, the consumer tech section features interactive displays for audio, video, home theater, smart home integration, home security and other cutting-edge products.
Before: Lyle’s TV department prior to the Makeover.
The revamp of the electronics area has truly been a huge success. As Sue explained, “We have been doing this type of work for years but never had a decent place to showcase it to the public.” Now, current customers are taking note and showing interest in products they had been unaware Lyle’s even carried. “The hands-on displays are definitely driving business,” she said. “They realize we are not just about washers, dryers and refrigerators.”
After: The revamped electronics section is driving new business in home theater and smart-home integration.
Around the same time as the Makeover, Lyle’s also made a concerted effort to go after the commercial channel and builder business, which is starting to pay dividends as well. In addition, a new line of bedding was added last fall that is gaining traction as well.
I recall when we finished our work in the store last October and took a minute to reflect on the changes, it was hard not to be blown away — not only by how much the showroom had changed, but by how much these changes had transformed the people inside the walls. There was a renewed sense of pride and a newfound “pep in the step” among the staff. Sue noted that there is now a palpable excitement she senses the minute her team walks in the building. That kind of energy transcends everyday work and carries over throughout the day, both inside and outside the store. “This is not an old mom-and-pop downtown store anymore. It is a clean, vibrant and exciting place to work now, and people on the team are proud to work here,” she said.
A full-blown Makeover project like we completed at Lyle’s without a doubt made a huge impact. New paint, flooring and fixtures will do that for any store. While a top-to-bottom revamp isn’t an option for most of us unfortunately, it is possible to commit to small changes that will make an impact at a reasonable cost. I suggest you start with smaller incremental areas of focus, as suggested in the AVB Makeover: Store Edition Manual, and work your way up to the bigger projects.
If you have any doubt about the power of a retail transformation, just ask Sue Schinke and you too will become a believer!
AVB Inc. is the publisher of YSN.