Positioning delivers profits

Proprietors of Thrifty-Link’s MGM Hardware will work hard this year to ensure their business can reap the benefits of operating in a suburb that’s ready to flourish.
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Store: Mac’s Home Timber & Hardware, Warners Bay, NSW
Proprietors: McIntyre family
Group: John Danks & Son
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Situated in the heart of Ascot Vale, approximately five kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD is the MGM Hardware store. Proprietors of the store, John and Angela Italamantaris and Angela’s brother Chris and wife, Sophie Vlamis believes their store’s “position, position, position” is very advantageous.

Ascot Vale is one of Melbourne’s older suburbs growing in popularity and that consist of many houses in need of urgent restoration. “Many of the homes near our store require a fair bit of work,” says Chris Vlamis. “We envisage renovations to remain at quite a high level as per last year. And while the customer base of our business is evenly divided at 50% for trade and consumers, we sell a lot of builder’s hardware for all the renovations.” He adds: “Talking to the real estate agents in Ascot Vale, they have informed us that many people purchase houses in the area in order to tackle a renovation. This is great for our business!”

MGM Hardware is located in the suburb of Ascot Vale, appoximately five kilometres from Melbourne´s CBD.

MGM Hardware was the “National Store of the Year 1997-1998 for Thrifty-Link” and was sold to the new proprietors when the former owners wished to retire. The new owners saw the purchase as a great opportunity to continue the hands-on, personalised service of the previous owners. The chance of managing a hardware store, with the benefits of its location in mind, attracted them to MGM Hardware. It is 60 years old but relocated six years ago to larger and more modern premises.

John Halamantaris has been in the hardware industry since leaving school – firstly as a product manager at Tunstall Wholesalers for ten years and then at Lockwood for six years as a major account representative. Chris Vlamis worked part-time in a hardware store while working full time as a storeman.

Adding to the mix of skills is Angela Italamantaris, instead, came from the grocery industry and Sophie Vlamis – the music industry.

At any time you can find all four proprietors in store and Mark, a full-time employee who has always been in the trade as a builder and who holds many years experience in hardware.

As a result of a wide range of experience in difference service industries, the proprietor’s understand well the value of personalised service. “We go out of our way to make the customers feel welcome,” Chris Vlamis says. “We do this to ensure they return to the store.”

Propreitors, John & Angela Halamantaris and Chris and Sohie Vlamis with one of their employees

The store is 7,600 square feet, with plenty of parking available at the back of the premises. It stocks about 10,000 items and has the accessability through the warehouse to 30,000 lines. From all the products the stores offers, Vlamis says that deadlocks and window locks are quite popular with customers and sell well. He believes one of the reasons for the popularity is the store’s add-on service. For every purchase of locks, the store offers the service of keying the locks at no charge and this additional customer benefit proves to be an attractive offer for customers.

According to Vlamis, MGM Hardware also sells a good deal of timber and paint products. He believes this could be due to the knowledge and experience gained by staff from professional paint seminars.

Currently, the business is running off an old computer system which the owners are looking at updating. The proprietors acknowledge that they need to be up to date with modern modes of business which includes embracing new in-store IT systems.

“Another thing we would like to change in the store would be to have a decent timberyard,” he says. “Our biggest problem is that we are restricted by four brick walls.”

MGM Hardware is well stocked, clean and well’maintained

In order to publicise the activities of the store, it advertises through catalogues, local newspapers, and also supports the local community by sponsoring nearby schools and bowls clubs etc.

The proprietors at MGM Hardware know there is room for improvement within the store and can see there are ample opportunities for growth. They hope to make many changes which offer further benefits to their customers and provide suppliers to the store with an easy trade channel. MGM Hardware aims to achieve this objective this year while enhancing profits at the same time.

Written and compiled by Elizabeth Huggins.