Darryl Rose is a renaissance man with good intentions. He’s an honest marketer; a salesman looking out for the buyer; a software developer who thinks only of the end-user; and a remodeler. Today, the owner of Get Dwell is leveraging his skills to help Chicagoland’s local hardware stores compete against Amazon and big-box retailers.
In between the early 80s when Rose graduated from Lake Forest College—he studied psychology and religion—and 2005, when Get Dwell was formed, Rose’s experience was rich but patchwork.
For five years, he was salesman for Alcatel networks, a French telecommunications equipment company, guided by a man named Terry Boyle, who Rose describes as the “greatest salesman” he’s ever known. “He backed up his talk better than anyone. If he told a customer they were getting something, he made sure they got it.”
For another five years after that, he worked a corporate gig for a healthcare management company, where he learned how to evaluate products and companies, and why it’s important to give customers what they want and not only what you have.
Into the 90s, Rose leveraged his experience alongside a friend, Dale Allen, to help startups navigate the ballooning tech bubble. They worked mostly in the financial services sector. “We had built a consortium of the largest companies in the industry to get them on board with a eCommerce platform. Thirty days later the bubble burst and the value of the internet collapsed. It was a fun ride.”
That takes us to the 2000s. In the years since college, Rose had packed away skills from different jobs in different industries, but all the while he’d maintained a slight grip on remodeling by odd jobs and helping out his mother with repairs and remodeling projects in her home. The latter would prove the foundation for Get Dwell.
“I would plan what to do to help her maintain her house over time— changing filters, checking for rot, maintaining ductwork, all the things to keep the house, what we would call today, ‘sell ready.’”
Expanding that idea of regular home maintenance, Rose created a company that emphasized repeat business and ease of scheduling to keep things regular and predictable. He founded Get Dwell on principles of learned lessons. “We wanted to earn customer loyalty; to never over-promise but deliver what we do promise; to give homeowners what they needed rather than what was easy to provide.”
Working with Local Hardware Stores
It was Ed Sanders, a local hardware store legend, who first got Rose into the hardware store scene. Sanders ran Millen Hardware, a fixture in the northern suburbs since about 1908, and after watching the amount of product Rose purchased, he one day pulled him aside and simply asked, “What is it that you do?” After explaining his business, Sanders, a shrewd judge of character, told him he’d put Get Dwell flyers at the front of his shop.
This was the seed: give hardware stores a means to offer home services the same way big-box stores can. Rose says that home services are the “holy grail” for hardware store owners.
Get Dwell perfected its partnership with Millen while expanding its operation. And while partnerships with hardware stores began as flyers with information for booking Get Dwell’s services, it was Rose’s vision to transition the system into the virtual space. “It took us two years of trial and error to build our scheduling system.”
Having partnered with over 30 local Chicagoland hardware stores— which Rose says are on average third-generation owned—Get Dwell has been able to close over 12,000 contracts for 7,000 homeowners.
“Our lead quality is better because people know these shops and their owners. They wouldn’t even let us in the door if they didn’t trust our standard of quality, because for these hardware store owners their reputation is everything.”