TimberTown Gets a Fresh Refinishing 

After 41 years of business, TimberTown is getting a brand new look. The reason?  “To get us in the best possible shape for the next generation,” says founder, Matt Stayner, whose son Aaron manages the NorthEast store. 

With so many changes in the world, and especially the world of marketing, Stayner says, “We realized that like a solid wood floor, we were due for good refinish. ” So with some help from Tenato Strategy, a marketing research and strategy firm, they dove on in. 

Starting with Market Research 

The beginning of the process involved talking to many of TimberTown’s customers and non-customers to understand their strengths and levels of awareness. This included homeowners and contractors in Calgary, Edmonton and Canmore.  

“TimberTown’s staff knowledge and helpfulness was the big reason people came back,” says Jacqueline Drew, Principal Consultant of Tenato. “Clearly, TimberTown prioritized keeping staff long-term, and customers noticed a big difference from big box stores.” 

The haziness was with those who didn’t shop at TimberTown, says Audrey Davidson, Director of TimberTown’s marketing.  “If they’d never been to a TimberTown, they didn’t know what they’d find in there, versus a big box store.  We didn’t have a clear message for those who had never been here.” 

What Does TimberTown Sell? 

After deep discussion with TimberTown’s team, Tenato’s team realized that although TimberTown didn’t carry everything under the sun, they did three things extremely well:  hardwood flooring, interior doors, and decking/fencing. And they had a vast selection of each. 

“Within these three areas, we can kill the competition,” says Stayner, “We can plan out the customers’ project, build the materials list, supply everything, and guide them to completion. We even have pre-screened contractors in each area if the customer can’t do it all themselves.”  

This led to the realization that instead of TimberTown being “less complete” than a big box store, TimberTown was more like three complete specialty stores all under one roof. 

Going Right to Town 

This resulted in branding the three divisions within TimberTown, and matching it with a new look for TimberTown as well.  The following are the new logos and division brands: 

Tenato’s first suggestion was to call the divisions TimberDeck, TimberDoor and TimberFloor but Matt Stayner, TimberTown’s President and Founder, had a better twist, putting the emphasis on the “Town” within the TimberTown name, as DeckTown, DoorTown, and FloorTown.   The TimberTown steering team loved it. 

The Town idea also spun into a theme around getting small-town guidance and service, with maps guiding consumers through their home-improvement projects.   

Tenato’s team brought the branding through with signage and interior store designs as well.  “The three division signs make it very clear what TimberTown sells from the outside and inside – so people know exactly what they’ll find in store,” says Drew.     

A Promising Tagline  

Added to this was a tagline: Pro guidance on every project. “We decided that the tagline shouldn’t feel like fluff,” explains Drew, “From doing the research, we knew their staff really followed through with customers, so the tagline has the feel of a serious promise.” 

E-Commerce or Not? 

The team had great discussions about e-commerce, and whether to sell products online.  The problem kept coming back this: there are so many types of doors, floors, trims, hardware and supplies that customers really do need guidance from a pro.  “We don’t want people to accidentally purchase the wrong sizes, hardware, or trim that doesn’t fit. It just messes up their projects and gets them frustrated. ” Explains Dick Karperien, COO. 

Instead, TimberTown’s new website helps customers find products, prices, and build budgets, but instead of finishing the transaction online, “You can save or submit the order to our pros, who go through and check it, and make sure it’s right first. Then they’ll guide you through if you have any problems.” says Karperien. 

Laying the Website Foundation  

Even without full e-commerce capability, achieving accuracy of pricing and product descriptions online is still crucial. 

To achieve this, Tenato worked with TimberTown’s team to combing through the former website and all of the company’s internal product data. “We’ve spent weeks answering questions like ‘Why do you call this an A but here you call it B?’  So it feels great to know our old problems won’t appear on the new website,” explains Dick Karperien, COO. 

Stayner agrees, “TimberTown has always been about local, small-town service. But I think the new branding makes it clear what we do, and do well. Even with an online experience, we’re finding a way to keep it personal.” 

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