News: Retail Novice Wins State Award

Smithfield Mitre 10 in Cairns, Queensland, was recently announced as winner of the Retail Store of the Year Award (for a store size 750 sq m to 1250 sq m) at the 2005 Hardware Association of Queensland (HAQ) Awards.

Having started the business from scratch nine years ago, with no previous retail or hardware industry experience, store owner, Anne Malone, left this year’s HAQ awards with unexpected success – a testament to the hard work that her team has put into the business over the past nine years.

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Caption: Anne (centre) and her team with their award

Judged by the HAQ Board of Executives, store appearance, general merchandising standards, customer relations and service, as well as staff presentation, were all key criteria when determining the winner of this prestigious award.

While many hardware operations are family-run businesses with several generations of family knowledge and experience contributing to the success of the business, it is a different case at Smithfield Mitre 10.

Anne said that with no history in retail or hardware business, she attributes her store’s success to simply treating customers the way she would like to be served, as well as employing exceptional staff who are friendly and knowledgeable.

“I was actually a nurse before I got involved with running a Mitre 10 store, which believe it or not, has really come into play with running a business. Although nursing and hardware may seem like chalk and cheese, it’s all about dealing with people and providing customers with a level of service that exceeds expectations,” said Anne.

Smithfield Mitre 10 is a regular and contributing member of its community, having recently been nominated for the 2005 Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Awards, which recognise excellence in the employment of people with a disability.

The store employs two people with disabilities who are recovering from injuries and accidents. One is recovering from a Cerebro-vascular accident (stroke) and has a residual paralysism, while another employee has a past history of back injury.

“Our employees with disabilities love coming to work and are so happy to be employable again. It makes our workplace a more “rounded” environment. In the past, I’ve also had major motor accident victims work here to get them back on the road to full-time work again,” said Anne.