Total Tools celebrates 30-year (+2) anniversary in record numbers

by | Oct 17, 2022

Celebration and reflection were the unofficial themes of the 2022 Total Tools Conference as the group celebrated its 30-year milestone at the Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast.

Total Tools Conference 2022

While the 30-year celebrations were forcibly held two years late, due to the pandemic, the excitement and enthusiasm displayed throughout all events were second to none as the highest number of attendees gathered for the much-anticipated event held from September 26 to 29.

Over 450 attendees participated in the iconic celebrations that featured two full days of the largest trade show ever undertaken at a Total Tool’s conference with over 45 suppliers in attendence. This year member services were a substantial part of the trade show with support office functions including IT, finance and insurance. 

After a three-year absence franchisees and suppliers had plenty to talk about during the trade show. Discussions were based around the abundance of product innovations on display as suppliers continued to push the boundaries in battery platforms and run-time in both power tools and garden products.

On the final day of the conference, golf, gel-ball and car racing were just some of the exciting team-building activities undertaken and were met with many positive reviews before participants quickly changed into their formal wear for the much-anticipated 2022 Total Tools Awards night.

The 2022 Total Tools Awards night kicked off with big screens displaying pre-recorded interviews of franchisees projecting what they loved most about working with Total Tools. Many said they just enjoy working with their customers every day, as well as overcoming many business challenges as well.

Some interviewees said they have, “customers who have shopped at the store for over 25 years which is remarkable in any business, particularly one that is as fast-changing as ours.”

As one of the first presenters on the night, Total Tools Chief Executive Officer Paul Dumbrell said the long-awaited conference had many highlights including the extensive, two-day trade show that proved to be particularly successful as online sales activity continued right up until the final day of the conference. 

“After three and half years the success and DNA of Total Tools is all about these events. The recent success of our business is to be celebrated considering the heart and the fabric of the business could not be delivered in the way we have done so in the past 30 years,” he said.

Mr Dumbrell then went on to invite all founding members to join together on-stage to cut the 30-year anniversary cake.

Founding members cut the 30 year cake.

In an effort to honour the success of the group over the past 30 years, the awards night was held in a slightly different format than usual with pre-recorded interviews of founding members describing some of the most pivotal moments of the business over 32 years. Interviewees described how Total Totals came about after the demise of All Tools during the 1990 recession, which led to eight like-minded mates to band together to maintain strength in numbers and remain attractive to suppliers. 

“While we had no money or stock, we were just a bunch of best mates who loved the business. We held our first meeting in Sydney with Wayne Brown under a handshake deal to be a collective going forward with the leader of the group being Geoff Patnaude. We grew from a pretty simple format and started forging ahead while making sure our businesses looked and sounded the same,” one founding member said.

Another said most of the founding members were looking to buy better, with initial negotiations and communications being the most important part of setting up the business. 

“This was combined with creating up our branding and colours that would set us away from the All Tools name. Our colour choices are created from a combination of McDonalds and Hungry Jacks branding. We are now a billion-dollar national business and I still see far more opportunity ahead of us than there is behind us. What we have started cannot be stopped,” another founding member said.

2022 Total Tools Supplier Awards

Total Tools General Manager of Merchandising Nicole Bemelmans then presented the first round of awards including the 2022 sales representative and supplier awards.

Total Tools’ General Manager of Merchandising Nicole Bemelmans

2022 Geoff Patnaude Sales Representative of the Year 

Upon presenting the award, Ms Bemelmans said, “As one of the founding fathers of the group, Geoff is super passionate about the relationships that can be forged within our business and the importance of having great sales representatives.”

Finalists: 

NSW/ACT Joanne Amoroso – Sutton Tools

VIC John McNamara – Milwaukee

SA/NT Ian Morrison – Makita

WA Ashley Deacon – Chervon

QLD Andrew Kell – Makita

TAS Andrew McConnon – Bosch

Winner John McNamara – Milwaukee

2022 Geoff Patnaude Sales Representative of the Year, John McNamara – Milwaukee.

Milwaukee’s John McNamara said he was surprised to win the award but appreciated the recognition. 

“It is so great to receive this award particularly as I have called on Geoff for many years. I have built some great relationships with stores and I appreciate their feedback in what I do in-store.”

Second Tier Supplier of the Year

Second Runner Up Klein Tools

Runner Up Apex Tool Group

Winner Josco

The Second Tier Supplier of the Year was awarded to Josco.

Ms Bemelmans said Josco had provided great support to Total Tools across all levels of the organisation.

“This supplier has a solid distribution strategy and affords exclusive ranges that drive growth within our business,” she said.

Josco representative Tim Creighton said achieving the award was a team effort, “we love working with Total Tools and we will continue to work with these guys for a long time to come.”

Tier One Supplier of the Year – (Top 10 suppliers in revenue)

Second Runner Up Milwaukee

Runner Up Sutton Tools

Winner Kincrome

The Tier One Supplier of the Year Award was awarded to Kincrome.

While Total Tool’s relationship with Kincrome was rekindled just four years ago, Ms Bemelmans said the group had experienced exceptional growth ever since. 

“Kincrome had the highest overall store growth, exponential sales growth and delivery of an enormous number of exclusive programs and promotional opportunities,” Ms Bemelmans said.

Kincrome representative Paul Burgoine said while they had a “few stops and starts on our journey, we know we have a true bond. The working relationship we have with the group is second to none.”

2022 Total Tools Store Awards

Presenting the much-anticipated store awards was Total Tools General Manager of Network Development, Shane Logan, who initially acknowledged stores for their success over the past year.

“It seems that 2022 has been just as demanding and trying on our stores as the previous 12 months. Yes, we have been busy and had a really good time but we are now being presented with challenges including inflation, supply chains and a never-ending conga line of competitors. In saying this I have all of the confidence that our strong and resilient network can take on any challenge that is thrown our way.”

“The Store Manager of the Year Award recognises excellence in leadership and management and incorporates financial and non-financial metrics along with a range of criteria,” Mr Logan said.

Store Manager of the Year

Second Runner Up Ryan Houk – Warners Bay

Runner Up Jason Everingham – Bundaberg

Winner Ange Karaoulis – Grovedale

The 2022 Store Manager of the Year Award was awarded to Ange Karaoulis of Total Tools Grovedale.

Upon receiving the award Ange Karaoulis said the award was unexpected and he thanked his team for their on-going support and for making sure the store had such a great culture.

Rookie Store of the Year

When announcing the Rookie Store of the Year award, Mr Logan said recipients must not only embrace the Total Tools business model but also have exceptional sales performance, margin, profitability, range management, customer experience, team development and overall support of the Total Tools’ model.

Second Runner Up Bundaberg

Runner Up Rockhampton

Winner Grovedale

The 2022 Rookie Store of the Year Award was awarded to Total Tools Grovedale.

Store Manager Ange Karaoulis again received the award and said Total Tools was a fantastic group to work with and the last five years had been extraordinary. 

Most Improved Store of the Year

The Most Improved Store of the Year Award is presented to the store that has shown the most improvement in the previous year, Mr Logan said, with criteria based around sales, margin, profitability, inventory management, customer experience, team development and the overall support of the model. 

Second Runner Up South Melbourne

Runner Up Melton

Winner Tamworth

“Total Tools Tamworth experienced an impressive 23 per cent growth and performed well in all areas including customer and compliance,” Mr Logan said.

Total Tools Tamworth representative Steve Brazel said receiving the award was a massive surprise and thanked the team along with Total Tools. 

Store of the Year Award

The well-regarded Store of the Year Award recognises the best of the best, with Mr Logan pointing out that, “to be crowned Store of the Year a store must excel in every facet of our store operations, including sales, margin, profitability, inventory, store standards, learning and development of the customer experience.”

Second Runner Up Darwin

Runner Up Lonsdale

Winner Launceston

The 2022 Store of the Year Award was awarded to Total Tools Launceston and accepted by franchisee Jim Karanikas.

“Total Tools Launceston had a store growth of nearly 15 per cent, an EB penetration of nearly 13 per cent inside of penetration of nearly 95 per cent, and an average RSR score of 89 per cent,” Mr Logan said.

Total Tools Launceston franchisee Jim Karanikas thanked the Launceston team, “including Store Manager Andrew who works bloody hard, does an amazing job, is a great person and leader of the team down there – well done.”

Total Tools Launceston Store Manager Andrew Shea thanked the franchisees for giving him a chance at taking on the role of managing the store. 

“We have great crew and we all stick together and help each other out” Mr Shae said.

When concluding the store awards, Mr Logan pointed out that it seemed unfair that the group could only nominate 10 stores and officially award three stores.

“With 101 success stories across the network as well as 12,000 team members within the retail network, they all make a substantial difference to our customer’s lives every day,” Mr Logan said when closing the awards presentation.

Hall of Fame

Former store owner and second Chairman in Total Tools’ history, Phil Timbs is the first Total Tools recipient to be inducted into the newly founded Total Tools Hall of Fame.

Former store owner and Total Tools Chairman Phil Timbs was the first recipient to be inducted into the Total Tools Hall of Fame, with the plaque accepted by Phil’s son Mark and family.

Sadly Mr Timbs passed away earlier this year but is fondly remembered for playing a crucial role in building the Total Tools business to today’s success story.

Total Tools founding members reflected on Mr Timbs contribution to the group in a pre-recorded video saying that his impact on the business was remarkable because he was so astute and always offered great advice.

“Phil had a focus on shareholder value and set about making sure this was our value so we could grow the business to the success that it is today. He had experience working in big and small businesses in the past and the vision to take this, once small business, and put in the right mechanisms to set it on its course to make it a bigger business,” one franchisee said.

Widely remembered for his words of wisdom, one of Mr Timbs favorite quotes was:

“Retail is a very simple business that is profoundly hard to do well.”

In a moving tribute, Mr Timbs’ son Mark accepted the Hall of Fame plaque on behalf of his father.