THE SHOP

July '20

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28 THE SHOP JULY 2020 Inviting showrooms fight the stereotype of disorganized, poorly lit retail spaces that some restyling shops have been known for. Flowood, which has become huge—it was really the best thing we ever did." After playing baseball in college, Estel had a two-year stint as a minor league base- ball player. But an injury brought him back home to the family business, where he's worked full-time since 2001. "My perfect day is going to each store to check on things, looking at tickets and making sure everything is done right," he says. BOUTIQUE DESIGN Last year, RPT opened a third retail store in Gluckstadt, which sports a more modern design. The 15,000-square-foot, light-filled space has a welcoming vibe, with an exte- rior decorated with repurposed wood, big windows and a clean floor layout featuring well-curated product displays. "We've had vendors from all over the United States come in and they say there's nothing like it in the country," Estel notes. The location received a positive response from customers and industry members, which Estel credits to the boutique aes- thetic. The company plans to slowly bring elements of the design into its other loca- tions, and he encourages other shop owners seeking increased business to consider the look and feel of their retail spaces. "Make sure your store has really good curb appeal and make it really inviting for customers to come in, because you have a lot of truck accessory places that are just horrible, which can make them intimi- dating, especially for ladies who come in," he recommends. Another marketing tool with slick curb appeal that RPT relies on is its website (ricksprotruck.com), thanks to its mem- bership in the Automotive Accessories Marketing Group. Equipped with a user- friendly design, the site allows customers to easily order products, build their dream vehicle using Interactive Garage, view spe- cial rebates and offers, and more. A MINDSET FOR GROWTH Besides having inviting stores, Estel also encourages shop owners to invest in good employees—something he says has been ALL BASES COVERED Leveling kits and suspension lifts, along with bed covers, are the most popular products.

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