As a manager for one the largest industrial supply stores in America, Matt Hull is looking forward to seeing what the future holds in Clinton.
Fastenal is scheduled to open its doors Wednesday, March 1.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to service this market,” said Hull, a district manager. “For years, we’ve been servicing out of Dunn and it’ll be nicer to get to know the customer base better and have options for them.”
The closest location to serve residents was in Dunn and was about a 30- to 40-minute commute.
“We’re making the trek a couple of times a week,” Hull said about making large deliveries. “We do all of our local deliveries on our pickup trucks. So sometimes, we had more products than space available. It just made sense from a service standpoint to open up a branch here in Clinton because we had a good amount of customers here.”
Hull said it fits into Fastenal’s motto “Growth Through Customer Service.” The idea is to become familiar with their needs and provide a steady flow of industrial equipment.
“We’ll start to learn more about the customers and what they need to have on hand and stock it here for them,” Hull said. “That reduces the carrier cost for them and it gives them that same-day service. But we have to establish that relationship and get to understand their business.”
Fastenal started in the 1960s when Bob Kierlin and four friends collected $30,000 and opened a small store in Winona, Minn.
“As we were servicing our customers and selling nuts and bolts in bulk, we started to learn about all of those other items that those customers were using,” Hull said about the history of the company. “Over time, we started to add more and more different product lines to the mix.”
Now, there’s more than 2,600 Fastenal locations worldwide. The industrial supply giant employs about 2,750 people. Hull said a lot of local businesses are showing interest in unique fasteners.
In addition to fasteners, the business also welcomes visits from walk-in customers to purchase items such as cleaning products, trash bags, toilet paper and paper towels.
“We are a retail store open to the public,” he said. “A lot of people think of us just for those nuts and bolts, but we do sell a variety of different power tools, landscaping tools, shovels, bricks … about 10 percent of Fastenal’s business comes from the retail side where we get walk-in traffic that comes in for whatever they may need off the shelves.”
Two full-time employees and possibly two part-time associates will work at the store.
“As the store’s sell volume continues to grow, we’ll continue to add more and more resources to the staff here,” Hull said.
Before the opening, Hull connected with local businessman Greg Thornton and moved into the building at 303 W. Elizabeth St. The building was previously home to The Sampson Independent.
“The whole process of getting down here has been longer than expected, but we’re certainly glad to have a home here in Clinton,” Hull said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.