First time winners of HBT’s prestigious award
The Midland Timber Co.
Joe and Sallie Schorer, Dean Maringoni
Hardware & Building Traders (HBT)
As first time winners of HBT’s Store of the Year Award, The Midland Timber Co. owners, Dean Maringoni, Joe and Sallie Schorer, are extremely proud to have won such a prestigious award.
Dean believes the award is prestigious because it recognises much more than simply increased sales with HBT suppliers.
“It’s about working with our customers to give them the best possible service, products and pricing they need. This is achieved by working closely with HBT and our suppliers,” Dean said.
The Midland Timber Co. prides itself on perfecting the essentials of running a business by providing quality products, excellent service and competitive pricing. What really sets the store apart is staff and management’s extensive knowledge of the WA building industry.
“We know how essential it is to understand the needs of our customers and give good advice and service on product selection and delivery,” Dean said.
New hardware department
Although the business is primarily a timber yard, the store did launch its new hardware department just over three years ago, which led the business to join the HBT group.
“We were new to hardware when we joined the group, so we needed to be competitive with our purchasing and HBT allowed us to do this,” Dean said.
“Joining HBT also allowed us to grow our business over the past three years and ultimately win this year’s store of the year award. However, I do feel that the most important people in the business are our loyal customers and our fantastic staff. With extensive experience in the timber industry, our helpful staff can provide expert advice and attention to detail that is unmatched by large hardware chains.”
“Many of our customers have shopped at our store for years, some of them since we started. They are very loyal and give us a great deal of word of mouth advertising. Add to that our growing number of retail customers who are enjoying our motto – ‘Buy direct from your local timber yard’,” Dean said.
Original owners, Joe and Sallie Schorer, opened The Midland Timber Co. in March 2001, with Dean joining the couple in July 2012 as their business partner. Dean’s wife, Jodie Maringoni joined the store this year in a part-time accounting role.
“My career began in a small country town called Narembeen, where I worked in the local store in the hardware section after I completed school. After four years, I started a job in Perth working for Whittaker’s Hardware. Following this, I worked as a sales clerk for a wholesale company called Gibson Benness Industries. Over the next 14 years I graduated from a sales representative to the sales manager to the general manager of the timber division. I moved on to John’s Building Supplies as the general manager before the opportunity arose for me to join Midland Timber as a partner and manager,” he said.
Yearly sales growth
With sales growing in the business every year and significant growth recorded in the last three years, Dean believes this business success comes from a number of factors, including a shift from the traditional brick and tile homes to timber framed homes and growth in the renovation and extension market, which is suited to timber frame.
“We have pushed local advertising a little harder and our expanded product range has also increased sales. We have also employed a new truss detailer, to the truss plant, which gives us the ability to quote more truss projects and thus generate more sales,” he said.
“Our retail percentage has also increased since we pushed the retail side in the last couple of years, and we are now 60 per cent trade and 40 per cent retail. We are equipped with an eight tonne truck and Hiab for deliveries and boast the friendliest truck driver in the business who receives compliments daily on his helpful service. We also have a local courier who helps out with urgent jobs that just have to get done,” Dean said.
About the store
The store is currently divided into three sections. The hardware section, which is approximately 30 sqm, the timber/decking shed section is 2000 sqm and the truss factory which is about 1000 sqm and all undercover. Add to this the yard space which is over 2500 sqm.
The store’s factory is installed with a state-of-the-art humidity control system, which stabilises the moisture content in the environment to ensure maximum product quality and consistency, according to Dean.
“One of the best attributes of our store is how clean and tidy our warehouse and yard are kept. It has always been a big focus, since the early years, for Joe and Sallie to have a clean, safe and presentable working environment for customers and staff. But more importantly when the customers see how much pride is taken into keeping the premises tidy, it gives them confidence knowing we will look after their needs and products the same way,” he said.
“We have had many changes over the years. The original offices were quite small and dark but this was changed four years ago when the office area was rebuilt. During the renovation, it was decided that the hardware area would be added to the floor plan.”
“Sheds in the yard were then either removed or upgraded with the LVL shed and cement/insulation sheds. The largest project however was to seal the whole yard and carpark so there was no more dust. You can imagine the yard and carpark being all dirt. This caused a lot of issues keeping everything as clean as possible,” he said.
Dean also pointed out that Western Australia is predominantly a brick and tile home building state, which you would think would not be ideal for a timber yard.
“However, we are located in what is commonly known as the ‘hills area’. This area is hilly and not conducive to double brick and tile but rather timber frame and this is where we come in. Many of our builders and carpenters live and work in this area plus all the retail/DIY customers. So we stock what the timber frame market requires, not the brick and tile market,” he said.
The store’s extensive range consists of H2 and H3 pine, LVL’s, plywood, structural flooring, mouldings, fibre cement sheets, decking, design pine, weatherboards, doors and a full hardware range.
Looking into the future
Dean said there are plenty of plans for the store in the future because he believes if you don’t plan ahead and grow your business, you get left behind.
“We are currently looking at expanding our timber product range and introducing more new and exciting products. We plan to move the truss plant into larger premises so we can expand that side of our business. This will free up a large area in the warehouse allowing room for more stock. We are also currently undergoing improvements to the front of our premises making us more attractive and visible from the main road,” he said.