Faber’s Weld N Tools steps outside the box

Store name: Faber’s Weld N Tools
Store owners: Ray and Robyn Faber
Buying group: TradeSmart Industrial Group

Born from the successful Faber Toolbox manufacturing business 25 years ago, Faber’s Weld N Tools, based in Narrabri NSW, puts its success down to its extensive range that draws customers from all over the country.

Faber’s Weld N Tools commenced operations in 1993 in an effort to supply its local fabrication business, as well as other industry outlets. Ray and Robyn Faber initially established the store in a small showroom where it remained until 2012, before it moved to a bigger facility closer to the manufacturing plant.

The store went on to become a part of the TradeSmart Industrial Group 11 years ago, after Robyn found the group to be particularly effective at assisting members with pricing deals, including one off deals. Today Robyn is chiefly proud of the particularly wide variety of brands Faber’s Weld N Tools has in-store, including products not easily found elsewhere.

“Our stock continues to grow as we find new and innovative products to supply to our customers. I have customers who come from all over Australia to visit my shop because we have a lot brands that you just do not normally see. People do not necessarily want the cheapest products but they do want better products. I believe often what gives retailers the edge in this industry is exclusivity, or sometimes something different that is available in-store or even a particular deal,” Robyn said.

“Retailers need to continually create an in-store experience so their customers can come in, browse and have fun. I know that when the reps come in, I go nuts on the products offered because I believe that to have a successful retail business, it is not all about being price driven. In saying this, it does always amaze me how consumers seem to have the misconception that the Big Box is cheap, simply because it displays cheap deals at the end of each aisle.”

“I believe our business fits well with TradeSmart Industrial Group because the group consists of many family owned stores, with most located in regional towns and rural areas. We relate to the majority of members because they too have a continued focus on their customers, as well as solid partnerships with those suppliers who focus on growing their businesses,” she said.

Rural local area
Faber’s Weld N Tools is located in a large portal frame shed, which started life as an International Harvester outlet in a dedicated industrial area on the northern edge of Narrabri. It is centrally located close to the junction of the Newell and Kamilaroi Highways and serves an area with a radius of around 200 kilometres.

“Narrabri Shire is one of the highest GDP producing areas in Australia, with a population of around 15,000 in the shire. The area that our store covers serves a total population of 50,000, albeit we have a lot of competition. We do have regular customers from all over Australia, who are attracted by the extensive variety of specialised quality tools we carry,” Robyn said.

“While our primary competition includes smaller local and regional engineer supply businesses, it also includes large businesses like Blackwood’s, Bunnings, as well as online suppliers like Sydney Tools and Total Tools. We believe the products and services we offer continue to set us apart from our competition, whilst maintaining everyday competitive prices. Being part of the TradeSmart Industrial Group is also a definite plus for us,” she said.

While Faber’s Weld N Tools has attempted all forms of advertising over the years, radio continues to be its most successful form of marketing to date.

“Radio works well for our target market and we use it every day. We also combine this with our weekly local print advertising, social media, a new website, TradeSmart and supplier catalogues, as well as word of mouth,” Robyn said.

Toolbox manufacturing
Faber’s Weld N Tools was initially born out of Ray and Robyn’s successful Faber’s Toolboxes business, which was first established in 1986.

“Faber’s Toolboxes have been used by farmers, builders, plumbers, miners, electricians, carpenters, mechanics and engineers for many years. Made and designed in North West NSW, Faber Toolboxes are used across Australia by companies such as Qantas and BHP and are today exported throughout the world. Faber Toolboxes are also renowned for their unbeatable quality and sturdiness,” Robyn said.

“The first Faber toolbox made its appearance at Agquip in 1986 (one of the largest industry field days in the world). Our initial range consisted of a ‘Pro’ single drawer model and as luck would have it, we sold the lot by the end of second day. During the Agquip expo, customers continually asked for smaller versions, bigger versions and two drawer version tool boxes, which is why we went on to develop the Titan and Samson models.”

“As our product range continued to grow in 2002, and in response to customer demand, we also developed the Offsider and Jackaroo products. Today, we have many boxes available to suit a variety of uses, with many custom-made requirements,” she said.

Stand out qualities
Although Robyn has qualifications as an electrical engineer, she also has a Management Degree, which is now combined with extensive experience in retail and manufacturing.

This extensive experience sees Faber’s Weld N Tools maintain its customer focus and deliver personalised service.

“We specialise in tools and equipment, especially welding and consumables to support metal fabrication, agricultural and earthmoving repairs. We also stock a wide range of good quality brands from all over the world, including Europe and the USA. We try to stock the products of the original inventors and developers, not cheaper copies. We also continue to look for solutions to customers’ problems. This may mean that sometimes we don’t get the sale, but still results in satisfied customers leaving the store,” Robyn said.

Just some of Faber’s Weld N Tools’ biggest selling products include Milwaukee Power Tools and equipment, welders and welding consumables from well-known brands, quality hand tools, impact tools and air tools.

“It is hard to say what is most popular in-store, apart from Milwaukee because every area of the shop has its favourites. Slower moving items tend to be the special things we keep for the one-off needs. We are also the Air Liquide gas agents for the local area and stock a good range of specialised gases, which are additional to the standard ones,” Robyn said.

With the store located in a particularly regional/rural area, many of the store’s customers are farmers or contractors working in the agricultural sector.

“We also have traditional trade customers, fabricators, trucking operators and everyday people who need special tools for things like vintage car restoration as well as more traditional ‘DIY’ needs. Often a significant part of our sales are gifts, including gift vouchers,” she said.