By ROB JONAS
Jon Phillips is focused on helping his community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the owner of Phillips Hardware – with locations in Delmar, Voorheesville, and Altamont – he has been working around the clock delivering goods and stocking the shelves in an effort to provide residents with a variety of products.
“That business is basically my family,” says Phillips, a fifth-generation owner of the local hardware chain. “I’m in my stores more than ever these days. So, I want that sense of family at our workplace.”
Phillips has made several sacrifices along the way. A few years ago, Jon set about the painful process of selling some of his stores to concentrate on his outlets in Delmar and Guilderland – communities that he grew up around and raised his kids in. When the pandemic hit, he tried to maintain his margin for goods, such as protective masks and hand sanitizer, even as the cost to purchase the products soared. Jon also decided to offer free delivery to his customers to ease the tension of close proximity during the virus.
“[Profit] margins are shrinking because you can’t pass the cost on to the customer,” says Phillips.
The reason why Phillips has been putting himself and his business through this is because he strongly believes that supporting the community is paramount.
“We survive as a village,” Phillips affirms. “If you worry only about yourself, you are going to become extinct. If you worry about your neighbors, they will show their support for you, and you will thrive together.”
The pandemic has changed Phillips Hardware’s clientele. Where once towns and businesses were his primary customers, Phillips claims that homeowners now make up a large share of his customer base, especially as they engage in long-delayed home improvement projects.
“People have those ‘to-do’ lists. They’re telling themselves, ‘Now that I’m home, I should be getting these things done,’” says Phillips.
The stores have also become a go-to place for people seeking household supplies that they are having a tough time finding elsewhere.
“People are coming to us to buy toilet paper because we’re one of the few places that has it,” says Phillips. “Stores are low on [protective] masks. We have masks.”
“We take lists of what the customers need and we fill these orders, even if it is costly to do so.”
Customers are welcome to go inside Phillips Hardware’s stores at 235 Delaware Ave. in Delmar and 6495 Route 146 in Altamont to find what they are looking for. They can also call in their orders for delivery or curbside pickup. No matter what method they choose, Phillips confirms that customers can be confident that they will be working with experienced employees who have strong knowledge of the products inside the stores.
“Having a great team allows me to go out and be in the community,” Phillips expresses with sincerity. “If I didn’t have a great team, I’d have to be at the store all the time.”
For more information about Phillips Hardware, visit shopphillips.com.