Independent We Stand and NRHA announce results from study

A newly released study examines the positive economic impacts of professional contractors, builders and tradespeople supporting independent building supply, hardware, power equipment and paint dealers with their purchases as opposed to national chains. The study, conducted by economic analysis and strategic planning firm, Civic Economics, was released on May 9, 2017, at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. The North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and Independent We Stand commissioned the “Home Sweet Home: Pros’ Edition” study.

Key highlights include:

* Purchasing home building supplies and products from locally owned retailers keeps more than twice as much of that money in the local economy as identical purchases made at big box chain stores.

* Based on analysis, independent Stihl dealers, as well as other independent home improvement and building supply dealers, recirculate 250 percent more local dollars than their major chain competitors.

* Nationwide in 2016, a total of $243 billion was spent on single-family residential construction in the private sector. Collectively, these projects would require $133.7 billion in purchases of tangible goods. If professional contractors, builders and tradespeople shifted just 10 percent of those purchases from national chain dealers to independent suppliers, hometowns around the nation would enjoy the benefits of an additional $1.5 billion in economic activity.

“Once again, we’ve worked hard to create effective research that accurately depicts the economic influence locally owned businesses have on an individual community and how that initial impact has the potential to generate national economic activity,” said Dan Tratensek, NRHA vice president and publisher of Hardware Retailing. “In our first Home Sweet Home study in 2015, we showed how consumer spending at locally owned hardware stores made twice the impact on a community as spending at big box retailers. This Pros’ Edition of our Home Sweet Home Study reinforces how critical it is for retailers and consumers alike to be aware of the impression we leave when we choose to shop local.”

Tratensek presented the findings along with Chris Long, Stihl Inc. business development manager, and Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. Additionally, they introduced a new pros’-driven “Home Sweet Home Economic Impact Calculator.” It gives professional contractors, builders and tradespeople an estimate on how much their independent business purchases can return to the local economy.

The Pros’ Edition of this report builds on the findings from previous analyses on the impacts locally owned businesses have over national chains on communities, but takes it a step further. The study evaluated how purchases by professional contractors, builders and tradespeople building a hypothetical single-family home with a $1-million budget impacts the community through purchases in three distinct sectors: building materials (35 percent), hardware (15 percent) and power tools and equipment (5 percent). At the end of the project, excluding labor costs, the study shows about $550,000 would be spent on supplies. If these expenditures were made at locally owned independent home improvement and building supply dealers, $129,650 would stay in the local community. If these same expenditures were made at chain stores, only $64,025 would remain in the local economy. That’s a difference of $65,625, which stays local.

“Previous research has shown that independently owned businesses provide substantial, quantifiable economic benefits within the community,” said Brunelle. “Our work with NRHA has produced some exciting results, which further illustrate the impact across lines of goods and merchant types and allowed us to follow the dollars into the economy. One of Independent We Stand’s goals is to educate consumers about the importance and strong economic benefits of supporting locally owned businesses; the Home Sweet Home: Pros’ Edition study helps us do so.”

For more information on Independent We Stand, visit