New store for popular convenience hardware group
After 25 years in the business, the award winning Sunlite Mitre 10 Group opened its fourth store, in Paddington’s Oxford Street, continuing the site’s 60 year hardware legacy.
Sunlite Mitre 10 Paddington
The new store was opened on July 27, at the former Isenberg’s Hardware site on Paddington’s Oxford Street, unveiling the results of a major refit of the property.
Aided by the hardware group’s 25 plus year history, the new store is part of a network of stores across Sydney’s CBD and the eastern suburbs, offering more than 400 square metres of hardware over two extensive floors.
Additional Sunlite Mitre 10 stores include Bondi Junction, Pitt Street and York Street, which are reported to be the most successful umbrella of hardware businesses in Sydney’s CBD.
As a proudly independent and family run group, the opening of the new store is the beginning of a very exciting time for Sunlite Mitre 10, according to Group Managing Director, Steven Czeiger.
“We are thrilled to have expanded into our fourth Sydney property to offer Paddington and the surrounding area the award-winning level of service, expertise and product ranging that we have built up since 1987. At a time when price wars and independent shopping dominate retail headlines, we are proud to be an example of how our customer experience has set us apart from larger competitors,” Steven said.
“Not only will the store breathe new life into the Oxford Street shopping precinct, but will encapsulate our passion and dedication to providing a one-stop shopping hardware experience that no other hardware store can match,” he said.
The popular family business was established over 25 years ago by Steven’s father, Fedor, however Steven took over his father’s role in 2004 to create a convenient, hardware offer that prides itself on exceptional customer experience.
Sunlite Mitre 10 Group has not only utilised exclusive central locations in the city and filled the boutique sized stores with an impressive hardware range, but have also managed to change the reputation of Australia’s hardware industry.
Paddington’s total refit
The extensive re-fit of the Sunlite Mitre 10 Paddington store, began several months ago, when the entire store was gutted and reduced back to a shell.
“It was the biggest mess you can ever imagine. After we gutted the store, we put in new electrical data and wiring. We replaced all of the floors, painted inside and out, installed new ceilings, new loading dock, built new front window display areas, LED lights throughout. We have put everything in, that a new store in Paddington deserves,” Steven said.
The Paddington store will service the renowned upmarket Paddington area, which comprises of mainly terrace houses, with the median house price being $1.7 million. Over 80 per cent of the store’s customers are expected to be DIY’ers.
“Paddington has a fairly affluent target audience who, although they have the money to pay contractors, they still want to do some things themselves. So they would be happy to paint feature walls and they enjoy fixing and repairing, but they don’t like to build,” Steven said.
“Paddington is also a very community based suburb and many locals choose to shop in their local area. So what we did to channel this market was to create a store environment locals would enjoy shopping in. Sunlite is also about the shopping experience, so we create a customer experience that when they actually come in, they receive unbelievable service and they want to hang around because they enjoy the experience,” he said.
Steven believes the secret of his success lies in his exceptional team, who are specifically recruited based on their exceptional attitude. Their enthusiasm then becomes a part of the shopping experience of every customer visiting the Sunlite Mitre 10 stores, and is also a major focus within the Paddington store.
“Our model is very unique and something we have perfected. I believe no other hardware chain in Australia has perfected this model and Sunlite now leads the way in convenience hardware. No one is able to do what we do so well. We are the most dynamic group of stores within the Mitre 10 network,” Steven said.
“Basically a lot of our customers are people who do not necessarily want to build houses and are intimidated by the big trade based Bunnings type sites, but they want to come in and get advice and have an experience. So I say that we don’t sell hardware, we sell the experience. That’s basically what we do because our customers come in and are wowed by us and they say they have never experienced anything like this.”
“I hire every single person in this company and no one gets through the gates without seeing me. We are all about culture. So we hire people with the right attitude, over people with the right aptitude, which enables us to cruise at the right altitude. We have a culture where people love coming to work and if people love coming to work, then they love their jobs and they love serving customers and the customers feel this,” he said.
Steven also said a lot of customers walk in and they ask, ‘Where do you get your staff from? You are very lucky. They are all amazing.’
“But to be honest with you, it is not luck. It is just how I choose the staff. So we are very selective about our culture and who we have in here and that’s how we are growing. Our culture is the reason why we have been so successful. Sunlite focuses on people and giving people the tools they need to succeed. So this translates into happy teams and happy customers.”
“We are growing so well and Mitre 10 keeps asking us ‘How do you do it?’ And I say, ‘The right people.’ I have the right team and the right energy. I see my role as being the keeper of karma. So I have to make sure that the environment within the group is always right,” he said.
Although the Paddington store opening was soft and backed by a small amount of local media, Steven said he looks forward to perfecting the offer at the new store and maintaining the exceptional reputation that the group is famous for.