How the Tool Shack Grew to Two Locations by Being the Solutions Experts
Every problem has a solution, and no two customers are the same. Big-box stores don’t work for everyone since the focus of employees is often on stocking shelves. Many buyers prefer personal attention and expert assistance. Colten Wright and his wife, Regina, built their business on superior service. They own two Tool Shack locations in Florida, one in beautiful and historic Pensacola and the other nearby in Gulf Breeze.
Instead of feeling like a number, as they may at big-box competitors, every customer that walks into a Tool Shack finds a unique solution. Whether they want a part to make their equipment work like new, or they need a replacement machine, The Tool Shack helps them find the right solution.
The first Tool Shack opened in 2003, and the Wrights purchased the second in 2014. We sat down and chatted with Colten on how they grew their business.
How is your business unique?
Colten: “We try to set ourselves apart from the competition by providing superior service and being the solutions experts. When a customer comes to us, they have a series of concerns, problems or project needs. They don’t always know how to get to the answer or how to accomplish the goal; they may just have an idea in their mind.
“Our mission is to help them come up with the solution for that problem. We can provide the part that they need for a fix or supply the proper piece of equipment. It is important to find a solution for the project that they are working on so that they will keep coming back.”
Can you talk a little bit about your role and key responsibilities?
Colten: “As a business owner, you wear many hats, and that is probably the most difficult part of the job. That includes sweeping the floors, ordering equipment, receiving parts, unloading them with the forklift – pretty much whatever it takes, except for the accounting. My wife, Regina, handles that. She likes to say that I’m the ‘gas pedal’; I’m the one with the vision and the drive, and she’s the one that ‘pumps the brake’ sometimes to reel things back in. We are a good team.”
When did you implement c-Systems, and what was the initial reason for getting it?
Colten: “In 2014, we purchased a second store by taking over a dealership where the owner was looking to retire. In the process of taking on a second store, we quickly realized that we were going to need software that had a lot more scalability to it. We needed a partner that had the ability to really grow and scale with our company. That’s why we chose c-Systems and Infinity.”
What was the implementation like?
Colten: “The implementation of the software went well. We had a trainer come in. She was fun to deal with when we did the installation and the training. We had two different people because we had two stores. There was a learning curve, but it was relatively simple.”
What are some of the must-haves when it comes to a system like this one?
Colten: “c-Systems has a lot of functionality. I think that some of the best things for us is the ability to track serialized wholegoods a lot better. Once we grew into a tractor dealer, the units feature became very important to us.
“We like the ability to have both dealer- and factory-installed items and accessories as part of the inventory. We didn’t realize how important that was going to be when we first bought the software.
“We like the drilldown on our labor and parts in the service department as well. The feature to charge different customers different prices was new to us, and very helpful. Previous software systems that we’ve used didn’t have that functionality.”
What’s the biggest reason to own a system like c-Systems?
Colten: “I would tell other dealership owners that if they’re looking for a software system, it is a significant investment in cost and time in your business. That being said, to not have a good software system is very foolish.
“You have to look at the cost as an investment in your business. The cost of the software is pennies when you really look at the amount of money you can make. Compare the investment to your true profit at the end of the day, at the end of the year and at the end of the legacy of the company.
“When making a decision, it is good to remember that it’s not just the software, it’s the people that support it behind the scenes. To pick up the phone, get a call back and have somebody help walk you through an issue is important. c-Systems has been fantastic for us, and we’ve built a strong relationship together.”
How much has c-Systems contributed to the overall success of your dealership?
Colten: “The installation of c-Systems for The Tool Shack has allowed us to pay attention to the details. We can take a meticulous approach to find where pennies were slipping through the cracks and find ways to manage our business better.
“I think we run a good business, but I also think we can always be a lot better. Now we drill down and look at new reports and find different ways to look at things. That can be parts that we’re not properly categorizing or profit margins, which we are not calculating properly, for example. Diving into the details and finding better ways to do things is what the software does for us overall.”