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Alsip Home & Nursery

Company Facts

  • Location: Frankfort, Illinois
  • Industry: Lawn and Garden
  • Number of Stores: 2
  • Number of Employees: 150+
  • Website: www.alsipnursery.com
  • Co-op: True Value

“We’ve been an Eagle user since the late 1990s and the solutions provided are a big reason we are able to keep an accurate count of all that merchandise. And having that merchandise available satisfies our customers.”

Richard Christakes, Chief Executive Officer | Alsip Home & Nursery

 

In 1969, Alsip Home & Nursery opened as the premier garden center in Frankfort, Illinois. A complete garden center, the company carries a wide variety of patio furniture, fountains, statuary, pets, pet supplies, specialty toys, seasonal holiday décor, and more. Since opening, the company has evolved its 10-acre lawn and garden facility to include specialty retail and has a prestigious reputation in the market.

Accurate reporting improves customer satisfaction

Now operated by second-generation family members, Alsip’s is experiencing a growing customer base that shows no signs of slowing down. “We continue to build our repeat customer base by treating everybody like a friend and constantly bringing in new, unique, and quality merchandise that is hard to find elsewhere,” said Richard Christakes, chief executive officer of Alsip Home & Nursery. “We’ve been an Eagle user since the late 1990s and the solutions provided are a big reason we are able to keep an accurate count of all that merchandise. And having that merchandise available satisfies our customers.”

Inventory is a business’ single largest investment and asset. Alsip’s uses the Epicor Eagle Inventory Planner application to forecast and manage stock levels to better balance their inventory. “Our entire staff uses the Epicor Eagle Inventory Planner application,” said Christakes. “Our inventory is the most important aspect of our business and so Inventory Planner is the tool we utilize the most. The ability to access real-time data makes our business run more accurately, and we’ve experienced a huge cost savings. Everyone in the lawn and garden business should use this kind of technology to stay competitive. If we didn’t have Inventory Planner it would hurt our business significantly.”

Easier purchasing decisions

Purchasing can be a daunting task for any business. Easy access to data is one reason why the Epicor Compass application is so instrumental to the garden center. “Epicor Compass makes our purchasing decisions easier,” said Christakes. “We can effortlessly look at the history of what we bought, what we sold and compare cost to goods of inventory. What I find most useful is the automated reports and e-mailing to inbox. We plan to use it more in the future to optimize our business.”

“With Compass software we can drill down on customers’ balances and see what they are buying,” said Stephanie Harms, accounting manager at Alsip Home & Nursery. “It gives us a better idea of how each customer is spending their money with us. We’re able to stay on top of the balances—keeping everybody current. It streamlines the collection process, making my job much easier. Before using Compass software, we would go through and manually export reports. Now, I let the technology do the work for me.”

Satisfying high demands with mobile solutions

With retail business owners and managers always on the move, a mobile solution provides instant access to critical business information. The Epicor Eagle Mobile Manager solution is one of the mobile solutions that Alsip’s utilizes. One feature, known as the Top 100 List, provides insight into top-selling items. “The Mobile Manager Top 100 List helps me get a quick view of what’s selling and what we need to restock faster,” said Christakes. “Our buyers use the application at distributor tradeshows. They scan products at shows and pull up our quantity-on-hand right there on their mobile device. This helps them determine if they need to place an order at that show. It’s important to see quantity-on-hand in real time. We are now well informed on the actual merchandise we have and no longer walk tradeshow floors speculating. We’ve been able to make better buying decisions, and can negotiate more effective pricing. Mobile Manager is all around a great tool, and others really see us as an industry leader with this technology.”

Payment solution to better serve customers

A convenient, secure payment service that handles each step in credit card transactions—authorization, settlement and reporting—is crucial for every business. Alsip’s has significantly reduced credit card processing costs by using Epicor Payment Exchange. “We have saved over $17,000 in the first seven months of using Epicor Payment Exchange,” said Harms. “The processing rate is very competitive and we are completing our credit card transactions much faster now, which allows us to better serve our customers.”

Retailers want to simplify payment processing and reduce the costs associated with many third-party providers. “Another big improvement we’ve experienced in our business since the implementation of Epicor Payment Exchange is being able to manage our gifts cards internally,” said Harms. “There’s no more ‘per swipe’ fee to activate or redeem gift cards, which is definitely a bonus for us because we burn through a lot of gift cards in the company. Epicor Payment Exchange has really given us more control of our business.”

Connecting with customers online

Alsip is connecting with customers and commercial contractors in powerful new ways through eCommerce with the Epicor iNet eBusiness Suite solution. “We launched the Epicor iNet application to extend our customer reach in the online world,” said Christakes. “Our current customers like the fact that they can get a real-time glimpse into product availability and our wholesale contractors are able to easily view their accounts and make purchases through the portal. We have also been able to extend our business to new customers by tying online sales to real-time inventory, which has helped improve customer service. We are excited to see this portion of our business grow over the next few years.”



Success Highlights:

Challenges

  • Maintain accurate inventory levels
  • Improve buying decisions at shows
  • Remain competitive against big boxes

Solutions

  • Epicor® Eagle N Series®
  • Epicor Eagle® Mobile™ Manager
  • Epicor Payment Exchange™
  • Epicor Compass™
  • Epicor Eagle Inventory Planner
  • Epicor iNet™ eBusiness Suite

Benefits

  • Inventory levels easier to maintain, improves customer satisfaction
  • Real-time insight into quantity-on-hand leads to better buying decisions
  • Saved $17,000 in first seven months of using new payment processor

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