Barossa Mitre 10 builds new Design Studio

Barossa Mitre 10 has evolved substantially over the years particularly after it became a part of the Barossa Co-op in 1992. The Barossa Co-op was incredibly established in 1944 and was initially run by the local community as a general store selling an array of goods and services in the main street of Nuriootpa.

Business: Barossa Mitre 10 – The Barossa Co-op
Business Manager: Craig Dodman
Location: Nuriootpa, South Australia
Buying Group: IHG (Independent Hardware Group)

Today the Barossa Co-op is Australia’s largest and longest standing retail co-operative and has evolved into nine retail businesses located in and around a regional shopping centre.

Not only has the retail offering expanded, but so has its membership, growing from 771 members in 1945 to over 23,000 members today.

Originally run by the Mader family, Barossa Mitre 10 has continued to grow under the guidance of the Co-op with the total demolishment of the original store and replacing it with an impressive new 4100 square metre hardware store. The Co-op’s dream became a reality when the new store was re-built on 12,000 square metres of land in the centre of town in 2017.

Mitre 10 Barossa Business Manager Craig Dodman said the new store was re-built under the guidance of IHG’s Sapphire upgrade program and is virtually across the road from the former site.

“The new mall and Mitre 10 were about a $35 million spend in total. At the time, Mitre 10 had just released its Sapphire Program and we were the first in South Australia to roll out a store under this extensive renovation program. We are now a 4100 square metre store, which encompasses a trade drive through area, 1500 square metres of trade product and storage and a dedicated trade team to service our customers. We are also very proud of our garden centre which is over 500 square metres,” Craig said.

New Design Studio  

The Barossa Co-op’s new Design Studio was launched in-line with Barossa Mitre 10.

The Barossa Co-op already boasts nine businesses including a supermarket, SportsPower, Better Electrical, fashion stores Orchard Lane and Rod & Spur, Toyworld, Barossa Workwear and new business The Design Studio that opened a few months ago as a complementary offer to Barossa Mitre 10.

Craig said while the new The Design Studio is a stand-alone store, it is still run under the Barossa Mitre 10 banner and offers an extensive builder’s selection centre to trade and retail customers. This offer is also complemented by Barossa Betta Home Living which completes the home division of the Co-op.

Operations Leader of Betta Home Living and The Design Studio, Janelle Hueppauff said The Design Studio was established after customers from the Barossa Mitre 10 store continually enquired where they could source tiles for renovations and new builds. 

“The team started to think of other products that were not readily available locally for the renovator, builder and architects and The Design Studio grew from there. So now we have all of these offers under one roof in a 450 square metre space. We knew tiles were part of our buying group, so by sourcing these from our supplier, EVERSTONE Australia, we could properly service our customers. This is now one of the key brands of The Design Studio as well as Mitre 10’s newly marketed Principal Kitchens which is also unique to IHG,” Janelle said.

Barossa Mitre 10’s new Design Studio meets customer’s needs when building or renovating their home.

“Post COVID, our customers are putting a lot of money into their homes so this is the silver lining in this situation. We have multiple displays in-store including three model kitchens, as well as display bathrooms including vanities, tapware and showers. Since the opening of the store the response has been through the roof. Last week we delivered five new kitchen designs and we continue to work on multiple kitchens daily with over 20 kitchens in the pipeline plus several bathrooms and laundries. We love nothing better than seeing people’s visions come to life and being part of that process,” she said.

“When people come in, whether they are locals or tourists, they are just blown away by the new offer. Everything crosses over. If someone mentions that they need a fridge as well as their new kitchen, I can source a fridge from the home division as well. We are also working closely with builders and they have been so supportive of The Design Studio. Our home renovators and interior designers also know we can help them with a project from the beginning right through to install.”

“Between Barossa Mitre 10, Barossa Betta Home Living and The Design Studio we have all bases covered for our customers who want to either complete home renovations or furnish their home. We can put TVs in there, a Weber out the back, tile your bathroom, put in your architraves, we can now do it all,” Janelle said.

Local demographics

The South Australian Barossa Valley is currently experiencing exceptional growth in new home builds and renovations as well as a lot of development in the aged care and independent living space, according to Craig.

“Local builders are currently working on alterations, new builds, extensions – a bit of everything at the moment. We do not always get involved with the big builders but more of the small to medium sized builders who are serviced by us,” he said.

“The store currently services between 35,000 and 40,000 customers. This is the rough catchment area of the Barossa Valley that consists of three main towns, Nuriootpa, Tanunda and Angaston but there are many more towns north of us that use our regional shopping centre as a regular base.”

“Our local competition consists of a Bunnings about 35 kilometers from us, with a Tradelink and Beaumont Tiles store in the same town, as well as another Tradelink in the town of Tanunda,” Craig said.

New Sapphire store

Built as part of Mitre 10’s Sapphire upgrade program, Barossa Mitre 10 is not only impressive in size but also has innovative systems in place to guarantee its in-store processes and efficiencies free up staff so they can ensure exceptional customer service is consistent.

“I think we are one of the only Mitre 10 stores that has implemented a night fill concept in-store and this works really well for us. Our night fill team of five come in at about 6pm and work until 11pm pretty much every night so our staff can keep serving during the day. This is also an efficiency thing as they not only fill the shelves but also organize the next day’s orders.

“We also recently purchased a crane truck to assist with our deliveries and we even have someone picking at night for this service so our trucks are ready to go in the morning. When it comes to educating staff we strongly support the e-learning program through Mitre 10. This helps us better service our customers with up to date product knowledge,” Janelle said.

“Being a part of the Barossa Co-op makes us unique because we sell to 90 per cent of our members. They have loyalty to the business already because they have invested in it. They also receive a rebate.” 

“We run a lot of specials for our members, while the Barossa Co-op also puts a lot of money back into the local community by holding BBQs every weekend where we donate 30 kilograms of sausages to any fundraiser that comes and holds a sausage sizzle. We are fully booked Saturdays and Sundays now and our support with the sausage sizzles equates to over $100k in donations per year because we donate the gas, the sausages, BBQ, and location. Local sporting clubs and charities make a complete profit on this,” she said.

In-store marketing

Part of Janelle’s role is to execute the store’s marketing alongside a team of four. The team implement the majority of its marketing through the local paper as well as executing store displays in the Barossa Central Mall, that in-turn draw customers to the store.

“I also look after a lot of the social media for Instagram and Facebook for the three divisions, while Craig has recently implemented an exciting new trade newsletter for our trade customers titled ‘TRADElife’. We post hard copy newsletters to 200 tradies every month and it keeps them updated on what is going on including introducing staff members and advertising our ‘Meat Tray Friday’ winners for the month. It is just a different channel of communication to our customers,” she said.

“I think if we took the newsletter away, we would definitely notice it as we think it is important to market the store throughout many different channels,” Janelle said.

Trade store features

Mitre 10 Barossa’s sales percentage sits at 60 per cent trade to 40 per cent DIY but despite the trade presence in-store, the garden centre continues to be extremely well supported, as well as paint, timber and building supplies which were particularly strong throughout COVID, according to Craig.

Barossa Mitre 10’s Garden Centre is a stand out feature of the store, with its displays, product knowledge, green life offering and the garden club ensuring this division continues to grow despite competition from other popular garden centres in the area.

“Many years ago, Mitre 10 used to run a garden club called ‘My Patch’. After it was abolished, we developed our own garden club called ‘Garden Grow’ which gives members an immediate 10 per cent off all green life. Our club members also receive a $10 credit for every tenth purchase over the value of $15, which is very popular within our garden club. We also try to advertise green life products that are different and to continually maintain that point of difference,” Janelle said.

“We are probably up against one of the best garden centres in the state just down the road. Barossa Nursery is a massive garden centre and with this huge competition being so close to us I am so proud of what the team have achieved in this department. We are punching above our weight that’s for sure,” she said.

Looking to the remainder of the year, Craig said even though the Co-op has only just opened The Design Studio, the team is always thinking of the next innovation because the group believes in remaining proactive for future projects.

“For now, the team will continue working with suppliers to strengthen our current offer and remain customer focused. Our home renovation’s base is strong and we look forward to where this may continue to lead us with opportunities,” Craig said.