Q&A / 

Northern Tool

Northern Tool + Equipment is an online business where you can buy tools of just about any type and any brand. Years ago, before the Internet was used for commercial purposes, I used to buy my tools from Northern Tool. Back then, one just used a traditional full-color catalog and a toll-free telephone number to place orders.

One of the power tools I purchased from Northern Tool was a corded one-half inch drill made by Porter Cable. I remember paying $89.00 for this drill back in the late 1980's. This was a lot of money for a drill at the time.

But the moral of the story is that I was buying quality. I still have that drill, and it works just as good as the day it was delivered by the brown UPS truck.

Many of my carpenter friends and subcontractors thought I was nuts for buying tools via mail order. They thought it was crazy to call and send for a tool. My thoughts were about pricing and convenience. The drill was very competitively priced, and I loved how I didn't have to fight a crowd at one of the local stores.

After this positive buying experience, I then purchased a gasoline-powered air compressor from Northern Tool. This larger item was not able to be delivered by UPS, so I had to go pick it up at a freight company. That was a little bit of a hassle, but I got a fantastic deal on the compressor, and it arrived in perfect condition.

There were thousands of people who were buying mail order at the time. It wasn't a new concept, as other major retailers had strong mail-order catalog operations. Heck, L.L. Bean started his successful mail-order business back in the very early 1900's, so you know both mail order and Internet businesses could do well. People love convenience and great pricing.

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