Curry Ace Paint & Hardware is a family-owned retail business throughout the South Shore of Massachusetts. For the past 73 years, the Curry family has been supporting their local communities as the go-to hardware store providing paint, hardware, tools, propane and unique services.
Currently owned by father and son, Bob and Sean, Curry Ace has grown to multiple locations, and with Sean’s children growing up in the business, they are looking forward to a fourth generation of owners.
Sean Curry is focused on two goals – continuing a long-term growth strategy that includes expanding from the current three locations to 5, and growing his B2B business. The key for him was to partner with a credit provider that would help him scale his back office operations, be more competitive by offering extended terms, and increase cash flow to make strategic investments.
Improving Operational Efficiencies
“We looked at all of our processes, from receivables to payroll,” said Sean. “We knew, as we grew, we had to ask ourselves, ‘What’s going to scale and be the most cost-effective as we enter the next phase of our business?’”
“Hand mailing statements, taking payments, and answering billing questions can be time-consuming,” said Sean. “It’s costly from the labor side of it. The big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have outsourced their credit operations, why wouldn’t I?” BlueTarp manages the customer service, credit, and collections for Curry Ace.
BlueTarp also frees up time for higher-value tasks by offering online account management to Curry Ace’s customers. They are able to self-serve by downloading statements and invoices, making payments online, and requesting additional credit. They can also create branded invoices for their business.
Added Sean, “With BlueTarp, I’ve been able to reduce time spent handling customer requests from 50-60 hours a week to 15-20 hours so my team can focus on more strategic tasks.”
“We just hired a full-time B2B salesperson, and I was thrilled to be able to tell him he didn’t have to chase money and could focus entirely on customers’ orders. I don’t want my sales team to be bill collectors, that’s not their job.” Sean and his sales team use BlueTarp’s SmartView® dashboards to track the status of credit applications and see all purchase and payment activity, which helps to identify upselling opportunities.
“It’s costly from the labor side of it. The big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot have outsourced their credit operations, why wouldn’t I?”
Growing B2B Business
With Amazon becoming more of a competitive threat in the consumer market, many Ace owners are looking to grow their B2B business.
“Amazon has changed all of our thinking,” said Sean. “Customers expect a rapid process and the option to do business online. With BlueTarp, I can offer my customers modern online tools so they can easily manage their credit and pay online when it’s most convenient for them.”
Sean also provides extended terms to win the business of commercial customers. For municipalities and other customers that require a longer time to pay, Sean offers 60-day terms.
Since adding more B2B business can expose suppliers to more risk and fraud, BlueTarp continually monitors the credit behavior of Sean’s entire portfolio and uses its own automated tools to immediately identify and flag suspicious fraud behavior.
Improving Cash Flow
BlueTarp provides Curry Ace with upfront cash flow on every B2B sale, putting them in a better position to invest back into their business.
“I was asking myself, ‘How much am I actually putting out on the road each month?’”, said Sean. “Sometimes I’m billing out over $200k, and I don’t get paid for 30, 60, or 90 days. But with the predictable cash flow from BlueTarp, I can anticipate when we’re going to see the funds. It has changed our buying habits because we can take advantage of early pay discounts with vendors.”
Many Ace owners take advantage of early pay discounts so they can increase their inventory, expand their facilities, and hire more staff members as they grow.
“If your goal is to grow and not just survive, partnering with BlueTarp for your credit management is a necessity,” Sean added. “You have partners for payroll and other operational functions, why wouldn’t you have a partner for credit?”