Fagg’s Mitre 10 wins again

In some ways it is hardly a surprise to find that the Fagg’s Mitre 10 store, located in Geelong (VIC) has received the Hardware Journal award for best store for 2011, sponsored by Hills Industries. Fagg’s in many ways exemplifies the best practices for independent stores operating in the hardware retail industry.
What makes a store great

Some of the developments that have made Fagg’s special include; One-stop centre: Fagg’s combined all their operations under one roof, consolidating the staff as a team, and enabling customers to buy everything they need when they come by. Combining trade and retail sales: By moving trade and retail operations together, Fagg’s gets a double benefit. Tradespeople might see some products that are more geared to retail clients, such as doors, but retail clients also get to make use of trade-oriented services, such as timber cutting.

Store design aimed at increasing sales: Many hardware stores today are aligned in categories and a display system that relates to some organisational pattern, rather than the task of increasing sales. By putting high traffic products behind low-traffic products, customers can be exposed to more buying opportunities.

Combining external services: In a move that furthers some aspects of the previous two points, Fagg’s has added a post office outlet and a tool hire company to the hardware premises. The post office creates additional traffic, and makes stopping by the hardware store more convenient. The tool hire company makes it easier for people to get things done – plus it adds a second, mandatory visit to the store premises, and the hire customers will need to return their tools.

Emphasis on service, not just products: Fagg’s emphasises that it sometimes wins business from larger hardware stores because it offers faster, more efficient service. It has developed its own internal service program called “SHELLAC”. Customer loyalty: If there is one opportunity that independents constantly miss, it is to help build repeat business by providing customers with a sense of acknowledgement and belonging. The Fagg’s Mighty Helpful Card has been very successful, with Fagg’s claiming 10 per cent of sales are made in conjunction with the card. Ecological awareness: Customers judge a store on more than just its products and services these days. By installing a rainwater capture system to water its gardening centre, Fagg’s not only will save money in the long-term, but also provides an indication it is an ethical and thoughtful business.

Beyond business
Hills Industries does not determine its award winners simply on the basis of how well they on the business side. Community involvement is just as important. That’s another area, as it turns out, where Fagg’s excels. “We have a significant investment and connection with the Geelong community,” Keith Fagg, a director of Fagg’s explains. “In fact one of our key guiding business principles.” “As a long established family business in Geelong, we are very aware not only that it is the local community which support us but also that supporting the community is the right thing to do. We work towards this through a wide range of activities, including formal sponsorships with many local sporting clubs, providing material support for many local charitable groups, sponsoring special events such as the annual Great Ocean Road Half Marathon, supporting local theatre groups, holding fundraising BBQs every weekend at our stores and supporting a myriad of one-off activities with stock and Gift Vouchers.

“The other major financial support is through ‘Give Where You Live’, which distributes funds raised to over 60 Geelong charitable organisations. Our business makes a substantial annual corporate donation and a large number of our team members staff make a donation from their weekly pay.”

Celebrating

“Whenever we receive an award like this, we always advise our team, hold a special morning tea and celebrate it at our annual end-of-year staff function,” Keith Fagg tells us. The Hardware Journal sincerely hopes that it’s a very special morning tea this time, We can’t wait to see what the team at Fagg’s comes up with this year.