Prime example of award winning store

Store name: Prime Supplies
Store owners: Geoff Glenn, Mike Glenn & Regan Pye
Buying group: Australian Industrial Supplies (AIS)

When Geoff Glenn and his two business partners, brother Mike and friend Regan Pye, opened Prime Supplies in WA as a greenfield site in 2008, there was no way of knowing just how incredibly successful the business would become. Good old fashioned service and extensive trading hours grew the store so much, the business moved to a significantly larger premises just last year.

Ten years ago, Geoff, Mike and Regan bought a small retail premises and slowly built the business up over time. In 2017, the business had grown so much it moved to a substantially larger site, with the showroom boasting a space of 900 square metres and 3000 square metres of warehouse. The company carries some 20,000 SKUs across a broad range of industrial, steel, safety, lifting and other sectors.

The newly built store recently took out the AIS Retail Excellence Award, at the AIS National Conference last month. The modern site has taken the retail and showroom experience to a completely new level, with the business seeing a growth of 27 per cent this past financial year.

Geoff said the owners made the decision to move to a much larger site because of their desire to create something above and beyond the rest. “Sitting still” is not an option with this company with further growth opportunities continually being identified, according to Geoff.

Three walls of the showroom are bordered by 80 metres of square P4LED display sceens.

Business focus
The impressive, new Prime Supplies facility, caters to a mixed customer base, from mining companies, power stations, forestry, mineral sands, engineering and fabrication, right through to cash sale customers.

The primary focus of the business is a one-stop shop for all, while also maintaining a level of customer service that is higher than its competitors, according to Geoff, who said, “it is vital to differentiate yourself from your opposition.”

“How do we continually focus on customer service and our offer? We open the store at 6am every day and we close at 5.30pm. What does this do? It gives both our large and smaller clients a great level of access to our business at all hours of the day, at times that are operationally efficient for them,” he said
Geoff also believes the store cleans up a lot of its competitor’s business by 830am.

“We are often open at 5.30am, and soon after we could have customers in the store, walking along the aisles, grabbing what they need for the day, which is all excellent business for us,” Geoff said

Outstanding in-store offer
The show room experience within Prime Supplies is outstanding. National suppliers often tell Geoff that the store has set the benchmark nationally. This is due to the modern, open outlay, and also due to the store’s extensive LED screen installations. Three walls of the showroom are bordered by 80 metres square of P4 LED display screens providing fantastic promotion displays.

“It has opened up huge opportunity for suppliers to also tailor advertising for new or targeted products. This includes multiple video streaming capabilities that create a truly dynamic customer experience and a ‘wow’ factor instore. The showroom experience has really changed the dynamics of a typical showroom. It also creates a completely different look and feel when people walk in the door, because I know it makes them feel good. And that is critical,” he said.

“You have got to design the store in such a way that the customer wants to come back. We have to do it differently because we have outside pressures as well, with the biggest pressure being the internet. Customers choose us over the internet because we have relevant products, for the relevant market, at competitive prices. We also ensure our overall customer experience far exceeds what they can receive via the internet or with our competitors. That’s our point of difference.”

“Not only do we have extensive trading hours and an outstanding in-store offer, but also accessibility to our store. Improving access and parking has been a winner. We have ensured there is plenty of room for truck parking, so semi-trailers and road trains can pull up, or the cattle farmer can pull his truck up without hassle, while the bloke with the small car has a space to park as well. We need to provide the best opportunity for the customer to come to us first,” Geoff said.

Superior customer service
One interesting dynamic of the business is that 25 per cent of its sales are what Geoff calls ‘buy-in products’, or ‘non-stocked items’.

“For example, if a large mining company needs two drones urgently, they can ask us to pick them up by giving us a PO. We buy it, pay cash for it and it is up on site within a few hours. You just cannot get that level of service anywhere else,” Geoff said.

Prime Supplies has become one of the largest Milwaukee dealers in WA.

Based in Bunbury, Prime Supplies is located 180 kilometres south of Perth. With a population of approximately 120,000 in the area, competition is fierce in town, with many of the big name national companies having a strong presence.

Prime Supplies is focussed on servicing mechanical, engineering and fabrication customers, as well as remaining strong in welding, steel, lifting and load testing, managing about 8000 assets, with inspections every quarter.

“We also specialise in the lifting area and have NATA accreditation for both mechanical testing and inspection, being the highest national accreditation recognition for those areas,” he said.

When it comes to range, the business dedicates a small offering to the price sensitive end of the market, while remaining predominantly focussed on having a quality product offering that suits the more serious customer.

“This is because we know genuine people in business do not want substandard products. They want a tool that is going to last so they can undo a nut on a big bulldozer and know that it is not going to snap. It is not the cost of the item that counts, it is the quality because when you are out in remote circumstances, they know they can’t be messing around with cheap products,” he said.

“We are not the low end operator in town; we are sometimes the more expensive. We know we need to be competitive, which is why we have a mid to upper range offer,” Geoff said.

As one of the largest independent distributors of Milwaukee products in WA, Geoff said his primary focus for now is to continually grow and evolve the business.
“We made sure that the new site is more than accommodating with room for expansion, with fairly large expansion considerations for the business.”

For now, Prime Supplies remains a true example of an independent private business that is thriving in very competitive markets in the midst of the big multi nationals.