Connect with us

Best Stores

Rethinking The Store: Clodius & Co., Month 7: Hardhat Area



A major expansion project of their Rockford, IL, store, Clodius & Co., has been keeping Mark and Monika Clodius on their toes. From the start of the year, INSTORE has followed their travails, as well as the personal tragedies they’ve endured. In June, their nephew suddenly died from an undiagnosed heart defect, while almost simultaneously at the store, contractors were breaking ground after a series of delays. It was a hollow triumph, given the situation on the homefront. Now, as the Clodiuses still cope with the loss of a loved one, their project is forging ahead.

GOOD NEWS: Contractors dug and poured the foundation. They poured the concrete slab floor. It’s been very noisy and business-disturbing, but it creates attention, too, Mark said. Customers and the local press have been impressed that Clodius & Co. is expanding in a contracting market. When Mark contacted the local paper and pitched the story of four or five competitors closing their doors, while conversely Clodius & Co. is expanding, the editor took the bait, and the story wound up on the front page of the business section. 

SOMEONE’S KNOCKING: A consequence of having a bunch of contractors on site has been a rise in concerns about security. Workmen knock on the rear door, giving it a rattle anytime they need to come in. They pop their heads up in a window and tap when they need to catch Mark or Monika’s attention. (That kind of gave me a startle, Monika said.) Fact is, they have all sorts of new people they don’t know crawling all over their property every day. The Clodiuses have now developed a name-badge system for any contractors on site. Monika designed the unique badges, and the general contractor doles them out to all of his people and subs working there, so no one can pose as a workman and rob the store. Now, if they’d just use the right entrance, the Clodiuses would feel a lot more secure. 

HOMEFRONT: At home, things have been a little rougher. An emergency remodel of the downstairs bathroom prompted by a broken pipe drags on progress stalled by wrong parts delivered. In the garden, the zucchini fell prey to the chipmunks, and the tomatoes just plain fell. And at family gatherings, a place setting remains empty, a wrenching reminder of their nephew. Mark and Monika say the silver lining they’ve found in coping with his loss has been not to sweat the details when it comes to the stresses of the store and the expansion project. We’re a little less worried about having everything perfect, Mark said. 

JUST PERFECT: The steelwork has been delayed three times. With completion of the project timed to two months from the arrival of steel, Mark and Monika are getting anxious. On the bright side, they’ve figured out that the one case, one light plan they’ve devised for lighting is going to save them $20,000 in case-build costs by eliminating fixtures in the cases, and their air-conditioning system can be 8 to 10 tons lighter by using cooler metal halide fixtures. That’s going to affect our bottom line for years, Mark said. 

LESSON LEARNED: If there’s one thing that can make or break a project, it’s having the right contractor, Mark said. And a great staff, Monika added. If they didn’t have a contractor who understood their needs and security concerns, and if they didn’t have a staff that has pulled together in this time of crises, we’d be pulling our hair out by now, Monika said.




Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular