News Stories for July

News Stories for July

Mitre 10 MEGA Launched in Australia
The first of Mitre 10’s new MEGA large-format stores has opened for business in Chelsea Heights, in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.

The new MEGA store at Chelsea Heights, Victoria

The new store, launched officially on 10 June, is one of 30 MEGA stores planned to open Australia-wide (eight in Victoria) within the next five years.

Instead of conducting a traditional “cutting of the ribbon”, Acting Premier of Victoria, John Thwaites, teamed with Mitre 10’s Managing Director Frank Whitford to saw through a timber plank to mark the dawn of a new phase in the group’s growth.

The event was overseen by the owner of the new complex, Bruce Mathieson; Mitre 10 Mega General Manager, David Eager, and IBIS World’s Chairman, Phillip Ruthven.

Another very special guest was the strongest man in Australasia, who seemingly defied the laws of physics to pull a MEGA truck about 30 metres along a loading bay.

Deputy Premier of Victoria, John Thwaites, and Mitre 10 Managing Director Frank Whitford

While the MEGA store concept will obviously allow Mitre 10 to tackle other big-box rivals head on, it is important to note that Mitre 10 has avoided the temptation to roll out a network of copycat stores. This is a brand new kind of hardware store in Australia, and one that foreshadows a new era in fresh, customer-friendly, large-format marketing.

The 7,000m2 Chelsea Heights outlet, considered in conjunction with its soon-to-be-opened sister stores, gives MEGA the potential to overturn many existing large-format stereotypes. Traditional big-box stores of various marques around the world have become rather dusty, poorly lit, linear warehouses, characterized by supermarket-type symmetries and lots of equidistant thoroughfares: Think of Walter Burley Griffin’s layout for Canberra on a smaller scale!

By John Power

This Retailer Lives Life In The Fast Lane
Tony Sullens’ business competitors may find it hard enough to keep up with him in the retailing arena, but when it comes to car racing he’s sure to leave them in a cloud of dust.


i> Tony Sullens proudly displays his 2004 Targa trophy

Tony was recently declared overall winner at the prestigious car rally, Targa Tasmania, beating more than 280 competitors including household racing names: Peter Brock and Jim Richards.

The win was labelled the “biggest upset in Targa Tasmania’s 13-year history,” with Tony, in his 4WD Subaru WRX STi, ending the domination of Jim Richards who has been victorious for the past seven years.

Tony, who is store principal at Gosford Mitre 10 on NSW’s Central Coast, is a familiar face in the car racing scene in New South Wales and has a reputation as a gravel rally specialist. He says there are many similarities between car racing and hardware retailing.

Pic: Tony Sullens wins.jpg CAPTION:

‘Code Blue’ for Thrifty-Link
John Danks & Son has commenced its national roll-out of ‘Code Blue’ – a new store signage program for Thrifty-Link stores.

MGM Hardware in Ascot Vale (Vic) is one of the first Thrifty-Link stores to undergo the Code Blue makeover

Danks is hoping that the new, bold blue exterior signage will ensure that Thrifty-Link stores make an impact at street level in crowded shopping strips and in rural areas.

“As the market becomes more and more competitive, we need to ensure our brand is top of mind and instantly recognizable to consumers,” said Ian Bould, Danks’ National Marketing Manager. “The response from members to the initiative that was announced at the recent state conferences has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Peter Steinberg from the Carlton Handyman Centre in Victoria, believes the change will help distinguish Thrifty-Link from its competitors. “The splash of blue in shopping strips will become instantly recognizable as a Thrifty-Link store, opposed to white which is much more generic,” said Steinberg.

Code Blue is designed to consolidate the 380 Thrifty-Link stores currently operating in Australia. To complement the new look, staff will wear uniforms and end caps will be updated to provide a modern feel and more flexibility for promotional messages. The Code Blue makeover is funded through the current fee structure, with no additional cost to members.