BEAVERCREEK — After 25 years, Keith and Lisa Maxwell are packing up and hitting the road.
The owners of Maxwell Hardware closed their North Fairfield Road location last Friday and will now service current and new customers via house calls.
“We were able to have a lot of good personalism with the customers and over the years you keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger and it requires more of your time in different areas so then you start to lose the personalism,” Keith Maxwell said. “We finally made the decision that that’s what we wanted to go back to so we can have more personalism with customers and make sure the repairs are done right.”
Everything the Maxwells could do in their shop will be able to be done in the service vehicle, which is a converted U-Haul.
“The truck that we are using is really a portable shop,” Maxwell said. “I’ve got a lift, a welder, all of that in the truck. Most of the repairs should be able to be accomplished there at the customer’s house. If it does involve a large repair, we do have the capability of taking it back to the home shop and repairing it there and taking it back to the customers.”
Many times with in-home repairs, once a diagnostic test is completed, parts need to be ordered and another service call is scheduled. Because he has the history of his customers and their equipment, that will not happen too often, if at all.
“We are going to try to screen the equipment more closely before we come to the home so we can bring the parts that are necessary to that repair,” Maxwell said. “We have a lot of parts in stock.”
The growth of the Maxwell’s building, which has morphed from a single unit into a retail area, a business office and repair shop, is emblematic of why they want to downsize a bit.
“As you grow, you require employees,” Maxwell said. “It gets to the point where you can’t physically do it by yourself.”
Then that causes myriad problems.
“You learn that if the employees need time off work, you work extra time,” Maxwell said. Then there is the issue of employees not providing the type of service customers have grown to expect.
“I’ve got 38 years in this business of mechanics and working with customers,” Maxwell said. “To find other people to work with you that have that experience is almost impossible. It’s very, very difficult. People skills are hard to come by. It’s not taught very much. That’s why we are kind of taking a step backwards.”
The decision didn’t happen overnight. Maxwell said he and Lisa discussed it for several years, as did customers.
“Everybody has asked us if there was any way that the repair could be done at their home,” Keith Maxwell said. “As long as I have the building here I have to be here to take care of the customers at the store. Either I’m going to be the one going to the customer’s home or I’m going to be here at the store to make sure that it’s done here at the store.”
It appears Maxwell made the right choice. He had 70 to 80 appointments in line before the building closed and expects it to get busier as the nice weather approaches.
The service area will be Beavercreek and surrounding communities such as Xenia, Fairborn, Riverside, Kettering and Bellbrook. Maxwell does have customers outside that five to eight mile radius and will continue to work with them as well.
While it will greatly benefit the customer, the change wasn’t easy to do.
“We’re going to miss it,” Maxwell said. “It’s kind of bittersweet.”
But as they say, when one door closes, another opens. In this case, it’s a truck door.