After spending several years working in the lighting category, HBT General Manager of Buying, Jody Vella, recently spoke with AHJ on the latest trends and challenges within this rapidly evolving sector.
Safety HQ is a collective group of 22 independently owned stores located nationally and now boasts one of the largest online spaces for workwear and personal protective equipment (PPE) in Australia. There are exciting times ahead for Safety HQ’s online space with its 55,000 online products (at www.safetyhq.com.au) soon to be linked to all member’s stores so retailers can now run an expansive online shop alongside their bricks and mortar business.
After 32 years in the industry, Tim Kessler and Kent Hutton have seen their share of ups and downs, but the pinnacle for their business came last month when their remote Queensland store was awarded ‘2020 Home Timber & Hardware National Store of the Year’ at the IHG Virtual Expo. The accolade follows years of investment and sheer hard work by the duo, to position the business as the ‘Best Store in Town’ for their local community.
The latest smart home gadgets are continually maintaining consumers’ interest, with connected products that can track a home’s consumption of gas, electricity and water becoming the latest products to take off within this sector. Amazon has recently jumped on board this growing trend by creating an energy dashboard that not only monitors a home’s use of energy but turns off devices to reduce on-going costs. However, it is the original smart home sectors that maintain a slow burn for hardware retailers.
There is no question the Australian power tool industry is highly competitive – not only due to the huge number of brands that service this market, but also the increasing competition between specialist tool retailers. Industry groups now question what this fierce competition will mean for tool specialists in the future. Will the market become so flooded that it may no longer serve as a viable business for tool specialist groups?
Awarded TABMA Australia’s ‘Best Timber Merchant 2015-2017’, Ramiens Timber has operated within its local area of Western New South Wales since 1960, offering its customers specialty products as well as a one stop shop for residential and commercial projects. Today the business is well known for its quality products and expansive offer on-site, however it has not always been smooth sailing for the Ramien family.
It is little wonder why the Australian Made Campaign continues to experience huge demand from both consumers and local manufacturers, with nine in ten Australians now believing that Australia should produce more products locally, according to a recent Roy Morgan survey.
After taking on McLaren Vale Mitre 10 in 2017, owners Mark and Fiona Loveday, along with former colleague Brian Lawrence and family friend Linda Provis, have overseen significant growth and improvement in their customer offer over the last three years.
While 2020 is a year many small business owners would rather forget, hardware retailers are heading out of this year relatively unscathed, with some segments of the hardware industry achieving record sales during the pandemic. In this special edition of Industry Insights, discover not only what industry leaders achieved this year, but the important lessons they have learned along the way.
SSS Bargain Builders Supplies Owner, Neil Smith, has grown and evolved his store for over 25 years by selling a wide variety of building products to his customers in a unique style, which he says could be seen as an “old-fashioned” way of retailing, but may just be the key to fighting Big Box competition.
Safety and security trends are currently based around ensuring products are more accessible, smarter and easier for consumers, which is why innovative electronics and smart technology were particularly popular throughout 2020, according to Allegion’s Marketing Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Craig Patterson.
The productivity of many Victorian builders was sorely tested during the 15-week lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne, according to the Independent Hardware Group’s (IHG) General Manager of Merchandise, Geoff Harris.
Centwest Engineering & Steel Supplies owners, Ian and Margaret Harris, have successfully operated their store in Longreach, Queensland – 1200 kilometres north west of Brisbane – for over 30 years and continue to grow and evolve their business to service the needs of local customers.
With the first COVID-19 lockdown now over and many states beginning to open their economies, Australian Brushware Marketing Manager, Michelle Wee said its Monarch accessories continue to experience strong sales, even with Stage Four restrictions imposed throughout metropolitan Melbourne over the last few months.
As COVID-19 continues to interrupt power tool supply chains globally, hardware retailers are discovering the wisdom of carrying diverse brands to help offset the risk of supply shortages. JOHN POWER reports.
Just five years ago, former painter and decorator Ben Ilacqua took a chance in his career and jumped into the retail game by taking on an Inspirations Paint greenfield site in the new suburb of Gregory Hills, located just over 60-kilometres south-west of Sydney. Inspirations Paint Gregory Hills has already grown to be one of the state’s top stores, and Ben was also recently appointed as the youngest member of the group’s Franchise Advisory Council.
The fasteners and building supplies space has adjusted and altered in many areas this year, including providing extra services to customers throughout the pandemic, having the ability to respond to increased consumer demand, while also seeing some suppliers move into the construction space, including Macsim Fastenings.
One trend that is evident throughout the building materials market is that consumers are opting for Australian made products over cheaper imports, which is great news for companies such as Cement Australia, who produce their product in both Queensland and Tasmania.
Maddison Safety celebrates its 30th birthday this October and owner, Tim Maddison, believes three decades of success is attributed to ongoing innovation within the business, as well as the formation of new business avenues. A good work ethic is also important and proven by Tim as he madly cut up elastics for his new environmentally friendly, Australian made masks on an electric heat cutter while chatting with AHJ recently.
While it seems COVID-19 has developed a very pro-Australian sentiment in the retail marketplace over the last few months, the pandemic has also brought enormous levels of consumer engagement with the Australian Made logo as well. This engagement is particularly evident across social media platforms with the Campaign already recording a 300 per cent increase in engagement across its social media platforms, according to Australian Made Campaign Chief Executive Officer, Ben Lazzaro.
After 85 years in the business, one would think that Haymes Paint had endured and overcome most business obstacles, including major recessions and global wars. This was, of course, until COVID-19 was transmitted into Australia earlier this year.
Although the timber market did slow down when COVID-19 initially took hold at the beginning of the year, areas of the building market, as well as the DIY market, have since begun to pick up again despite the pandemic.
New Year’s Day 2020 saw many Australians wake up to images of towns blackened by one of the most ferocious bush fires to ever take place in Australian history. The fires were particularly catastrophic around the NSW south-coast, Victoria’s south-east and South Australia.
As the largest independent timber and doors outlet in Western Australia and a business that has successfully serviced the residential and commercial housing sector for over five decades, M&B’s journey to the Mitre 10 brand has been a long and well-considered one.
AHJ recently touched base with several hardware industry leaders from the Independent Hardware Group (IHG), Hardware & Building Traders (HBT), Australian Industrial Supplies (AIS) and Construction Supply Specialists (CSS) to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on hardware independents to date, and also source specific plans for the future.
Mesh & Masonry Building and Industrial Supplies has served the regional town of Ballarat, in western Victoria, for over 30 years. In that time, owner Dean Candy says the business has evolved through constant reassessment of customer requirements, as well as evaluation of potential growth areas in-store.
The best fasteners companies are preparing to ‘hit the ground running’ when COVID-19 eventually passes. JOHN POWER investigates.
While COVID-19 has had a detrimental effect on much of the Australian economy, it seems the safety and security sector has only thrived since restrictions were first implemented. It is for this reason that several safety and security companies have not only continued business as usual, but have also launched innovative products within this growing segment.
Mountain Timbers H Hardware & Building Supplies is a well-established trade business that has successfully operated in Melbourne’s outer-eastern suburbs since the 1970s.