City sophistication in the country

The name McCay has a rich history in the hardware industry that can be traced back to 1928. Now, some 70 years later, the McCay family name still lives on through the Mitre 10 Solutions store in Bridgetown, Western Australia.

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Store: McCays Mitre 10 Solutions
Proprietors: Richard Doust
Group: Mitre 10
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McCays Holdings Pty Ltd was first owned 70 years ago by Charles McCay who is the great-grandfather of Richard Doust, today’s proprietor of McCay Mitre 10 Solutions.

McCays Mitre 10 began life as McCays Holdings Pty Ltd 70 years ago when it was established by patriarch, Charles McCay

Holdings Pty Ltd started out as an old style grocery store, later developed to incorporate hardware and bought the Mitre 10 store in Majimup, Western Australia. About 12 years ago, McCays bought Moyes Mitre 10 in Bridgetown, 250km south of Perth. The major industries that operate within the town are farming, plantation forestry, mining and tourism.

Today, McCays is part of Mitre 10 Australia. The block on which the store is located comprises three retail groups – Mitre 10, Foodland and Retravision. During the late 1970s, McCays combined its Retravision and Foodland outlets into the store which has been in use since 1928. The old Mitre 10 store has been converted into a Mitre 10 Solutions store as part of Mitre 10’s Generation 21 re-branding project, and includes its Retravision store which was relocated from its supermarket complex.

Nowadays the store has a new look. Since November 2001, the store has moved into new premises totalling 1,000 square metres and boasting a garden centre that is 270 square metres. There is also a gas ramp and yard as well as 30 on-site car bays to accommodate customers.

Work on the new store commenced in April 2000 as the old building was demolished to make way for a bigger and better one. During the construction process the store was relocated to a temporary site, 300 metres from the original site. The whole process took just over one year.

Store principal Richard Doust says the timing could not have been better in terms of its redevelopment. “Launching our new stores as a Mitre 10 Solutions store came about by being in the right place at the right time,” he says. “The whole renovation process took about one year, which isn’t too bad considering the enormity of the task,” he adds.

McCays Mitre 10 Solutions moved into new premises totalling 1,000 square metres

Like many proprietors whose stores were reformatted in line with the Mitre 10 corporation’s re-branding strategy, Doust is well pleased with the store’s new style despite the upheaval during the move. “The new store is simply amazing. The fixtures are much higher than the old ones; we have built a garden centre and a sealed carpark. The overall style of the store and presentation of stock is out of this world,” he says.

He also says the response from the Bridgetown community has been very encouraging. “The town has really embraced the store; the community has taken on the project as their own and were actively involved during the changeover period.”

More importantly, Doust explains that the store has had growth towards 40% (50% in December 2001). There has been high fixturing, more volume of stock and the range has increased. He describes it as a “city store in the country”.

DIY Solutions store

The Solutions format is designed to have a home improvement focus, offering people all they need in DIY projects of any size or magnitude. Doust also explains the challenges associated with owning a Solutions store. “The biggest challenge since opening the store has been keeping it full of stock. The 50% increase in sales has meant faster turnover, and therefore we need to keep our logistical exercises as fast and efficient as possible.”

As part of this desire to better process sales with a focus on efficacy, the store currently uses Sympac point of sale IT systems. Doust feels that it is a very reliable system and as yet, does not hold any intentions of changing systems.

In general, the new Mitre 10 Solutions store will showcase products for homeowners wanting to undertake do-it-yourself projects, home decorations and gardening. The store will concentrate heavily on supplying paint and painting accessories along with providing expert, sound advice for colour choices and paint selection. Back in October of last year, Doust told a local Bridgetown newspaper that there would be a clean, functional and warm feeling in the store with lifestyle and product graphics used throughout the space.

At present, Doust reports that retail at the store is very strong, in particular within the garden centre. “I think the fact that the Garden Centre is a completely new addition in town has inspired people to buy garden products and improve their own gardens,” says Doust. “Our new paint section is also amazing and a major part of the Solutions premise is the decorator aspect, so it has been selling really well,” he adds.

The store now boasts a garden centre that is 270 square metres

Fifteen per cent of the store’s customer base is trade and rest is retail. McCays Mitre 10 Solutions advertise to these customers both locally and nationally. “We get exposure through the Mitre 10 group, and we ran a feature in the local paper when we launched the store last November. We have corporate sponsorships and are actively involved in the local community’s activities,” says Doust.

Despite the recent renovations, the store still plans a further expansion by about 300 square metres, which is exciting for the 13 staff members employed at McCays Mitre 10.

The store will focus on providing paint and painting accessories along with providing expert, sound advice for colour choices and paint selection

Doust says the store constantly focuses on improving customer service through its range of products on offer and its service by these employees.

The year 2002 is shaping up to a busier year for McCays Mitre 10 Solutions. “It will take some discipline on behalf of everyone involved in running the store considering its increase size. At the moment our greatest challenge is meeting consumer demand for certain items. We have enjoyed an increase in sales following the launch, so keeping the store fully stocked proved to be difficult,” says Doust.

“McCays Mitre 10 Solutions is the only hardware store in Bridgetown; we don’t have any direct competitors in town. Despite this, we still aim to offer the best value products and services.” Doust’s belief is indicative of the store’s aim to provide the ultimate service to the community and perpetuate the McCay name in the industry.

Written and compiled by Elizabeth Huggins