Success Story: Kesel Hardware & Rental

RockSolid Brings Major Productivity and Service Gains to Illinois Do it Best Dealer

Susan & Kurt Kesel of Kesel Hardware & Rentals

Running a hardware store of any size is surely challenging enough without having to become a computer expert into the bargain. Just ask Susan Kesel of Kesel Hardware & Rentals. 

Susan and her husband, Kurt, have owned and operated their 6,500 sq. ft. store in Nashville, Illinois, about 60 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, since 1991. They know the hardware business inside out and, with the help of a small but dedicated team of hard-working industry professionals and some outstanding entrepreneurial instincts and skills, they have kept their business strong in good times and in bad. 

But in a small market like Nashville—the town has a population of only about 3,000—investing in a computer system to run the business always seemed beyond their reach. Whenever they went looking, the price tag was just too high and the complexities of the systems they looked at seemed more than they or their mostly non-computer-friendly staff would be able to manage. 

ECi RockSolid POS—the best software and the right price

All that changed, however, when they discovered the RockSolid POS system from ECi Software Solutions. 

Susan Kesel still remembers the first time she put RockSolid through its paces. The owner of a hardware store in a nearby market had been kind enough to invite her over to check out their own RockSolid system and see how it worked in his business. 

“I spent a day just looking at how they were using RockSolid and before I left, I was already ringing up sales through the system,” she remembers. “I was so impressed by how easy RockSolid was to run.” 

The news got even better for Kesel and her team when she started checking out the pricing. “The system RockSolid was offering us—a server, two point-of-sale terminals and another back office computer for accounting—was less than what we would have paid for just a single terminal with the first software company we looked at. It was clear right away that RockSolid was a very cost-effective solution that just about any small business could afford.” 

The Kesels went live on RockSolid in July 2011 and, says Susan, it could not have gone any smoother. Kesel is a long-time Do it Best store and she freely admits that, prior to the conversion, she wondered how well RockSolid would handle that side of the business. Those worries didn’t last long, however. “The integration between RockSolid and the Do it Best system went like clockwork,” she reports happily. 

And the training side of the conversion followed a similar pattern. “We did all our training on the system about two weeks before our go-live date and then I left for a two-week tour of Europe with my son as part of his high school graduation festivities. I came back, and literally two or three days later we went live with no problems of any kind!” 

Kesel gives kudos to the RockSolid technical support team for their help and also to an outstanding array of RockSolid training resources. 

“When you’ve done nothing but manual processing for so long, there is an intimidation factor that has to be overcome and RockSolid was wonderful from that perspective,” she says. “We signed up for some of the live online courses and we also took pre-recorded webinars that allowed us to learn the system on our own schedule without having to pull our people off the floor during the day,” she recalls. 

And, Kesel adds, the ability to go into training mode on the system once it was set up allowed her and her team to work through mock sales and quickly gain the comfort level they needed to be confident about going live. 

“Some of our people don’t have very much computer knowledge and the prospect of automating the business really frightened them,” she admits. “But that didn’t last very long. RockSolid is so easy and intuitive and after just the first week, the fear factor was gone and our people began to realize just how much good RockSolid could do for us.” 

ECi RockSolid saves time and money

And did the system live up to the promise of that first week? 

“Absolutely,” Kesel replies, and she checks off a long list of gains across many different aspects of the operation to back up that answer. 

For example, receiving orders and getting them onto the shelf or into the warehouse used to take at least 12 hours before RockSolid. Today, it’s just a three-hour process. 

Statements for contract customers that before would take Kesel’s accountant two full days to prepare get done today in less than an hour. And now they can be emailed, cutting down further on labor and saving on paper and postage. 

RockSolid has also had a major positive impact on customer service. “We can process folks through the checkout so much faster than we did before,” Kesel reports. “Customers get printed tickets instead of hand-written ones and all the information we need on product availability and pricing is literally just a few keyboard strokes away; whereas before, customers would have to wait while we went back into the stockroom,” she adds. 

“RockSolid has made our business so much better on so many different levels,” Kesel contends. And as for the price tag? 

“When you look at all the savings we’ve gained, we just about paid for our entire RockSolid system in the first year alone,” she reports. “And the good news is that we’re still learning about the system and what it can do and the savings and the benefits to our business are only going to get bigger and better!”