Indie store update
Impact from new QLD retail hours
Craig's Highfields Hardware is not in favour of changes to retail hours in Queensland
Craig's Highfields Hardware is not in favour of changes to retail hours in Queensland
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Home Timber and Hardware store confirms closure and CRT store wins national award
HNN Sources
Craig's Highfields Hardware owner speaks out against changes to QLD's revised retail opening hours; Juncken Home Timber and Hardware is shutting its doors after the owners sell the property; Porters in Mackay (QLD) restructures for growth; and Combined Rural Traders names its top business.
Changes to QLD retail hours affects independents

Craig Stibbard, owner of Craig's Highfields Hardware in Toowoomba (QLD), believes any reforms to Queensland's hardware store trading hours will be an another advantage for chains like Bunnings and potentially hurt independent stores.

Mr Stibbard's store opens from 7am on week days and 8am on weekends. He said Bunnings had already claimed a number of smaller stores and deregulating opening hours would only benefit big business. He told The Chronicle:
...Whatever advantage we had on them would go with these changes. There're 12 of our Home Hardware group stores that have closed over 18 months and we're getting squeezed out.

Under the changes, hardware stores would be able to open from 6am Monday to Sunday as part of an initiative to reduce Queensland's 99 trading hour zones to just six. Bunnings currently only opens at 9am on a Sunday.

Mr Stibbard said this put small operators at a disadvantage if they could not afford to open earlier. He said:
We would feel obligated (to open earlier) to compete...The council and both levels of government need to offer incentives. There's nothing out there for us. They should make it a fairer playing field for us.

Mr Stibbard added there were certain things a store like his could do that Bunnings could not.
We employ the local kids here. If we're not around, who's going to employ them? We do work experience with kids and Bunnings doesn't offer that. Bunnings won't go and run a local canteen or coach the junior sporting clubs.

The changes to hardware store hours was among recommendations handed down from an inquiry into the trading hour issue led by former parliamentary speaker John Mickel.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced more standardised trading hours across the state as part of the government's implementation of the Mickel Report into trading hours.

She said the reforms would create jobs, help businesses and modernise trading hours.
Store closure confirmed

The owners Juncken Home Timber and Hardware in Nuriootpa (SA) said it will close after the sale of the property. The store will continue to trade as normal for now, as the directors of CO Juncken Builders Pty Ltd push through with the site sale to an undisclosed party. Managing director James Gerhardy told the Barossa Herald:
The decision to close has certainly not been an easy one, but as major shareholders are wishing to scale back their business interests, we really have no alternative. This exit has been planned for a number of years.

It was not known what the site would be used for under the new purchaser, with Mr Gerhardy hopeful the buyer may retain "some elements" of the hardware store.

The move comes after years of unsuccessful attempts to sell the business.
Porters appoints new COO

Mackay-based hardware and building supplies company, Porters has undergone a management restructure. Peter Newman, previously general manager of wholesaler P & R Electrical in South Australia, has taken on the new role of chief operating officer. He told the Whitsunday Coast Guardian:
The whole idea is that I'm doing all the operations for the business unit - the branches that Porters owns, whether it be the building supplies, the trade supplies, the plumbing, the glass manufacturing all the rest of it - those managers are reporting to me from an operational viewpoint.
It's all about growing those businesses further and focusing more on them and driving them.

Previously, all operational matters were handled by managing director Gavan Porter. Mr Newman will now report to him. It is hoped the restructure will allow the company to expand and move forward.

The company employs more than 180 people, but Mr Newman expects this number to increase, although the time-frame will depend on the market. He said:
We're not going to go out and employ 100 people tomorrow, but obviously we want to grow that as the market allows us to.

Mr Newman said it was exciting to be joining a company that has been in the hands of a family for five generations.
One of the reasons I was attracted to the role was from the length and longevity of this business - 130 years old. That's a pleasing thing - that they've gone obviously through the ups and downs of business cycles, but plus also, because of what they're trying to do moving forward as a business.

Indie store update: Jobs to go at Porters - HNN
CRT acknowledges best business

Dalby Rural Supplies, based in Darling Downs (QLD), took out the Combined Rural Traders (CRT) National Business of the Year award recently.

It won the national award for having high ratings with customers, suppliers and staff members, according to CRT general manager Greg O'Neil. He told The Chronicle:
Dalby Rural Supplies is an exceptional business...It has impressed with their wide-ranging technical expertise, their constant drive to improve the business and their deep understanding of the needs of the local community.

Dalby Rural Supplies principal John Cullen said the award came as a pleasant surprise for everyone who worked at the store.
Being recognised for the way we have serviced the Dalby region over many years is humbling, but it has been our privilege to work with the people here. Our focus has always been to be experts on our region, the advice we give is specific to the unique challenges of farming here.
The extensive range of services and resources we can provide as a CRT business means we can help our clients with everything from rural merchandise to insurance, but we never stop learning.

Independent rural retail group CRT has nearly 400 stores across Australia.
HNN Sources

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