October and April are the busiest months of the year for Wallace Hardware.
Located on 5050 S Davy Crockett Pkwy, Wallace Hardware puts together two hardware shows during each year, one in October and one at the beginning of April. Normally, the shows are held at the Leconte Center in Pigeon Forge.
“The hardware shows are spectacular and fun,” Doyle Wallace said. “The hardware show is a great opportunity for customers to come and renew friendships and talk with us and so forth.”
While October’s show went on with great success in 2019, things have changed with the emergence of COVID-19, affecting the April show. Instead of having the show in Pigeon Forge, Wallace and his staff made the difficult decision to scrap that and make it purely virtual.
“It’s a big big deal for us to have a show and an even bigger deal to have to cancel the physical part of it and say that we can’t do this,” Wallace said. “While most of the customers we deal with are from rural American and probably aren’t infected, if one of them was to go out to eat in Pigeon Forge or interact with someone who were to come down with the virus, that’s just not right.
“We knew it wasn’t right to ask our customers and vendors to actually come. That’s what led us to cancel the physical show and go with the online show.”
Wallace said that the decision was made to go online three weeks before the show was scheduled to begin. With this decision, the marketing people at Wallace Hardware put together a website for the online show, putting everything online in the simplest way possible for the customers. Wallace said that 95 percent of the merchandise was online before last week.
The online show was still held from April 1-3. During the time, the other five percent of the merchandise, which is called the “at show only deals,” was put on the website. Wallace said that those items had even lower prices on it. He also said that it was the largest show they had ever done.
Doing this show online for the first time, Wallace was unsure of how it would turn out. When the show concluded on Friday, he was pleasantly surprised.
“We were thinking that if we could do 50 or 60 percent of what is normally made at a physical show, that we would be doing good,” Wallace said. “But the Lord blessed us, and we went over 80 percent of what we normally make. We ended up having a very good show, it was just done differently.”
With the success of the show, Wallace Hardware has remained busy during the coronavirus outbreak, putting together those orders and shipping them out. Wallace said that his has stretched them thin a little as they are giving workers paid weeks off so that not all workers are there at the same time in order to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Considered an essential business, Wallace said that they have remained open during this time and that business is still good, with people who are having to stay at home needing to buy different things for projects they are doing around their houses.
“Business is brisk,” Wallace said. “A lot of people that are home right now are doing projects around the house, so our customers are doing well right now and we are glad for that.”