When we began working with this local lumber supplier, they were already getting boxed in by the big box home improvement retailers. Unable to beat them at their own game, local lumber and hardware retailers were dropping like flies. We sat down to discover what made this local institution special, and uncovered a trove of history, experience and stories we could tell.

For 75 years, JAY-K had supplied generations of homeowners and contractors in our community, and they had some of the most experienced and loyal staff in the business. One of their employees had worked for them for more than 50 years, and they were considered the go-to location for getting the right answers when you had a question about home improvements. They were a piece of Americana. We had our brand.

After updating their look, we set about pointing up JAY-K’s best features: experienced staff, local experts all, and better quality products at comparable prices. We conceived Jack O’Trade, a mannequin mascot who appeared on a series of billboards that made local news and were the talk of the town. Headlines played off JAY-K’s local bonafides, “Jack” came to represent the experts at the store, a kind of local legend. Almost alone among local home improvement stores, JAY-K has survived the onslaught of the big chains.

We eventually retired Jack but kept an edge to their brand, evolving to “We Know Jack about…(whatever you need)” and, “We know (substitute expertise here)”. Third generation owners and staff share their stories about the history of the store on social media, and locals are supporting the store where they can still get straight answers to pressing questions. It’s a heartwarming story however you paint it.