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Tool Locker Plus truly a family business

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

Brad Smith opened his new Lincolnton business, Tool Locker Plus, on Black Friday, arguably the biggest shopping day of the year.
That decision should show both his determination and the confidence he has regarding his new endeavor.
Located at 1116 E. Main St., the name-brand tool outlet, owned with his father, Danny, is truly a family business. Brad’s brother, Chad, also works at the store. They are currently the only employees, though Smith expects they may hire more staff once business gets going.
He and his father together renovated the interior of the spacious facility, which has been sitting vacant for more than a year, he told the Times-News on Tuesday.
They all have experience as contractors and, therefore, know the tools they are selling, said Smith, who was born and raised in Lincolnton. All together, he estimates that they have a combined 75 years of experience. His dad has since retired, and Smith is putting his contracting work, which includes conducting renovations and commercial-property maintenance, on hold while he invests his time and energy in Tool Locker Plus.
“We used the tools for many years … so we know what it’s about,” he added.
The idea to open the business stemmed from both this experience and also from a friend, who runs their branch-partner store in Greensboro, where Smith attended Guilford College.
His friend had developed the business model for the tool outlet, which is offering name-brand new and reconditioned tools and ancillary products at 40 percent off their normal retail price through a good relationship with the companies whose products they sell and with distributors.
“Every business day our purchasing personnel review product lists provided by our numerous suppliers to locate the tools, plus other products we believe will provide you with the best value for your money,” the retailer states on its website. “This process involves the review of literally thousands of items.”
The business is able to offer the discount pricing by selling merchandise that was labeled overstock, closeout, wholesale shelf pulls or returned by the customer, according to the website. As such, their inventory is always changing, Smith said.

Smith also added that they offer a one-year in-house warranty on all products sold.
While they worked long hours to get things ready for the holiday shopping season — having just gotten the tools in the Wednesday before Black Friday — Smith has a lot on his list left to do.
He plans for the business to roll out various new services over the coming weeks, including offering a full-repair center for tools, a part center, a tool-rental service, layaway plans and a pickup-and-delivery service for tools in need of repairs.
And, for those still looking for Christmas present ideas, they have gift certificates available, as well.
Of their location, Smith said they receive a good amount of traffic and that it’s ideal for those in retail.
Smith, who has lived in Los Angeles working in the “corporate world,” said he looks forward to being able to give back to the community in which he grew up. He hopes to provide good customer service and offer a “no-pressure sales environment,” combined with a “local, home feel.”
However, he realizes he first must attract a regular customer base.
In an effort to reach out to the community, the store is hosting a yard sale at 6 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Their doors will open early, with specials and a tool giveaway planned.
“It takes time for people to know we’re here,” he said.

Tool Locker Plus’ regular hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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