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  • #16
    I have one in town here. They are right next to a small factory, the only factory left. I think that's the only reason they are there. Never anyone in there other than the counter guy. They have basically nothing in stock except for some basic hardware and stuff, and that's ridiculously over priced. Whenever I've gone in there looking for something after the guy plays around with the computer for fifteen minutes and then says we don't have it here but can bring it in on the truck tomorrow. There will be a $5 shipping charge for that. The truck comes in every day from their big store in the next town. Not like they are making a special delivery just for me. I avoid that place like the plague !



    • #17
      I am a manufacturer rep and Fastenal is a national account we have to deal with. They strategically position stores near 1 or 2 of their major customers. They rent the buildings and will move or close the store if the customer closes or they lose the contract with them. Recently Fastenal has made a corporate decision (helped along by covid) to deter walk in business. What I was told they don’t want to deal with the guy walking in looking for a couple metric bolts 2” long the about the size of my little finger. They are steering their business towards vending machines in plant and the resupply of them. They even have self serve “stores” made from repurposed containers for remote jobsites where there are no employees. Access to the store is by purchase card and access to the vending machines inside by the same card. That way they can track all purchases. All this driven by bottom line profits and corporate investor return on the NYSE. They have more vending machines in place than Redbox did at the height of the video rental bubble.
      Sole proprietor of Acme Buggy Whips Ltd.
      Specialty products for beating dead horses.


      • #18
        It's not a bad business strategy. A single sales rep can service a good number of vending machines per day if they're located in an industrial park, and each vending machine probably sees more business in a day than their in-store sales counter. Markup may be less since they're not selling retail, but that will be made up in volume. It does leave the retail customers hanging, but lets' be honest - people who fix things and go shopping for hardware (never mind know what type of fastener they're looking for) are a smaller and smaller demographic.

        We deal with Fastenal at work and I believe they're the ones running our stocking program. The sales rep is always friendly and helpful and knowledgeable, they have an excellent website, and pricing on our account is good. On that side of the business they're doing a great job.
        Cayuga, Ontario, Canada