New in West LA: Hardware store for women

osh-nursery.jpgMy local Orchard Supply Hardware store on Bundy Drive has redesigned and rebranded as the kind of hardware store it says should appeal to women. "Complete with color coding of departments and an astonishingly welcoming retail environment," the flackage gushes. I took a look Thursday night. It does feel different than the old OSH, with all the hard-core male hardware like bolts and power tools and toilets now moved to the edges or the back of the store. The center of the store now has cute displays, help with painting projects and a lot of shiny barbecue models. Beatles songs were playing loudly throughout the store. And more.

Here's how the company's PR pitch explains that the remake is all about the ladies.

How does a hardware store appeal to women? "Pink it and shrink it?" Orange and enormous? Turns out not.

California-based home and garden retailer Orchard Supply Hardware has gone to great lengths to cater to women like no other hardware store we know of. They paid attention to the details:

Lower shelving, clear directional signage, shorter aisles, and a "racetrack" design encourage a woman customer’s roam-and-explore shopping style

Color-coded "neighborhood" groupings: red for tools, green for outdoor, yellow for interiors and decor.

Simple how-to signage and tips for every task, from fixing a sprinkler to stopping a leaky toilet tank

Providing “aspirational” images that feature merchandise in a home setting, and touches like arrangements of colorful table-settings on the patio dining tables to give women a complete picture that they can imagine in their own homes.

The sounds of falling water and wind chimes in the enhanced nursery area help a woman shopper visualize the plants and accessories her own yard

With the fall harvest here in the Valley of Heart's Delight, Orchard stores feature a whole section of home-canning jars, tools, how-to literature and supplies like pectin and cheesecloth.

Essentially -- these elements also appeal to men, while giving women a better shopping experience.

OK then. The big grand opening is Saturday.

Photo: Expanded nursery section, courtesy of Orchard Supply Hardware

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