Young Retailer of the Year

Our Young Retailer of the Year award, sponsored by HB Fuller, must be aged under 30, work full-time and be considered to be someone with a bright future in hardware. This year, the winner is Tom Graham.

Australian Hardware Journal met Gary Dwyer, Store Manager at Paddington Hardware in Brisbane, at the HBT Conference in Perth during April. It was during this conversation that Gary recommended Tom as a candidate for our monthly Young Retailer column.

“He’s very conscientious,” explained Gary. “He’s a good hard worker who gets on with the job and takes every task to heart. He puts all his effort into it.” Tom has been chosen as our Young Retailer of the Year for a number of reasons. He’s managing a department, shows initiative and creative flair, and he sees himself as a hardware man for life. Now 28, he’s been working in hardware since he was 15, originally as a part-timer until he was taken on in a full-time capacity at Gibson’s Newmarket Hardware once his schooling had finished.

“Paul Gibson was another lifer who took over from his father in one of the original general hardware stores on Brisbane’s northside, so I had a great beginning from the experience side of things,” said Tom. “Paul imprinted on me that idea that hardware is all things to all people. He had little lessons he taught me about selling, labelling products, putting signs up and other basic principles of retailing.” Tom’s father is a builder, so he developed a knowledge and fascination for hardware from an early age, when Paddington Hardware was his local hardware store. “Dad remembers me saying, ‘I want to work here when I get older,’ when I was about five or six,” he explained. “Now I dream about owning a hardware store one day.” “Paddington Hardware is a fantastic store,” said HBT Group Manager, Tim Starkey. “I love visiting them because they’re one of those old fashioned stores where you go in and it’s a bit of an adventure. All the guys there really know what they’re doing and they’re very knowledgeable on what they sell.”

Once again, HB Fuller sponsored the Young Retailer award, for which they agreed that Tom was a worthy winner. “HB Fuller are proud to be associated with the Young Retailer nominations throughout the 2010 year. Once again, we have seen some very enthusiastic young members of our industry nominated by their peers,” said HB Fuller’s Rod Harry, Australian Business Manager – Retail & Trade. “Tom clearly enjoys the day to day opportunities of dealing with different customers who visit his store and he demonstrates dedication in solving individual customer needs. Paddington Hardware is a good supporter of the HB fuller range of products and we acknowledge Tom’s commitment to remaining part of this great industry for many years to come.”

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