Indie store update
Honouring a Laidley hardware store
Goodwin and Storr Mitre 10 will be honoured by the Lockyer Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Goodwin and Storr Mitre 10 will be honoured by the Lockyer Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry
 
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Bexley North will lose its local hardware outlet and successful re-brand for Kellys Wodonga
HNN Sources
A Mitre 10 store is celebrated for its longevity; a 58-year-old hardware business in NSW will shut its doors for good; and Kellys in Wodonga (VIC) shows consistency after changing to the Mitre 10 banner.
Goodwin & Storr's long term legacy

The Goodwin & Storr Mitre 10 in Laidley (QLD) will be honoured in the Long Established Category at the Lockyer Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Recognition Dinner later this month.

The store started out as a fabrication business when Bill Goodwin and John Herbert "Herb" Storr took it on "more by accident than anything" over a century ago, according to the Gatton Star newspaper.

The firm John Storr's grandfather began has evolved into a major hardware store in the region. He explains:
During the 1920s when Peter Nelson, who had the hardware shop in town, passed away, his son sold the business. That's when we got into hardware as well as making tanks and iron mongering.

In the 1950s, Mr Goodwin left the business and Herb ran things with his son, Arthur. Mr Storr's own father went into partnership in the business in the 1980s when he returned from overseas.

In 1992, Mr Storr joined the business - in which his three sisters are partners - and during his time he has seen plenty of change. He said it was vital to keep on top of the market and make sure he was selling things people wanted.
When I started here 30 years ago we were selling different products. We would have sold 90% nails and 10% screws and, of course, there were hammers and things.
Now we probably sell 90% screws, 10% nails and it's not hammers any more, it's all electric screw guns. The nail section has completely diminished...You can have the same product in two different colours and one won't sell, the other will walk out the door. And what sells in Brisbane won't necessarily sell in Laidley, they're completely different markets.

In 2011, Mr Storr made the decision to focus on hardware and get out of tank manufacturing. He said:
We stopped the tanks after the last rebates back in about 2011 because the business died.

Shifting the focus meant he was able to invest in expanding and renovating the hardware store. He said:
We did about a quarter-of-a-million-dollar expansion back around that time. You've got to keep reinvesting in your business otherwise you just keep losing."

After 105 years in business Mr Storr is not sure what the future will hold, with no family members interested in taking over once he retires.
My dad asked me to get it to 100 years old and he said 'I don't care what you do after that'. To get it to 110 would be a good score. I'm 58, I don't want to be like my grandfather and uncle, working until I'm 100 and not have a life.

Mr Storr said he would like to see the business continue but admitted it was "hard yakka" and there were easier ways to make money, especially with pressure from major stores like Bunnings.
Bexley North Hardware calls it a day

Peter Blackwell is closing the hardware business started by his father at Bexley North (NSW) 58 years ago, reports The Leader newspaper. Blackwell's Bexley North Hardware closes its doors at the end of June. He said:
This one little shop has supplied hardware to some major projects including the M5, the Port Botany container wharf expansion and the upgrade of railway bridges at Bardwell Park, Kingsgrove and Narwee.

Mr Blackwell's father, Ronald opened the family business in the late 1960s and Peter bought it from him 21 years ago. He said:
We don't have any kids and my nephews and nieces aren't interested in taking it over...A small hardware shop is not as viable as it used to be.

Mr Blackwell has seen a lot of changes in Bexley North over the years. He explains to The Leader:
The area has an ageing population and now the elderly are passing away or going into retirement villages. The new people moving are either in too much debt or are not doing their own handy-work but getting someone else to do it.
Where the older generation did it themselves the new generation doesn't know what they are doing.

Mr Blackwell said the attitude of some of his bigger customers, particularly the local schools, has also changed when it comes to supporting small businesses.
We used to have a lot of accounts with the schools. But the new principals always tell their maintenance people to go to Bunnings.
I know we are still officially on the books with the schools. We are still asked to source specialist supplies. They have always had good customer service here. Otherwise, they go to Bunnings.
I don't know why the government is encouraging them to do it just to keep the big boys going.

Mr Blackwell said he has three categories of customers: project managers covering major developments; developers building units, and people building their own homes.
The only people we have had trouble with payment are the developers. But I never have trouble with payment from the top end project managers or the home handymen. Sometimes a project manager would ring and ask for something that could not be sourced anywhere or that they needed in a hurry and I would do it.

There have been difficult times in the past when Mr Blackwell was hit by a car and seriously injured. His wife Karen had to run the business for two years but he was able to recover and make it back to working full-time. While Mr Blackwell won that battle, he said the fight with big business has defeated him.
When the new Bunnings opened at Kingsgrove I thought we would lose about 30% of our clients but we lost 60%...For Bexley North it means that personal service will be lost.
Kellys Wodonga re-brand two years on

The Border Mail newspaper recently profiled Kelly's Wodonga and reports that despite external changes, the owners and service are still the same with Adrian (AJ) and Shelley still managing the store under the Kelly's Mitre 10 Wodonga brand.

The husband and wife team have been operating the business since 2006, starting as Kelly's Wodonga. They changed to take on the Mitre 10 banner in July 2016. AJ said:
We are still the same business as we were when we were Kelly's. We just added some additional Mitre 10 products to our existing lines. Even though we are just a husband and wife business, we are backed with the buying power of Mitre 10, NRI and AIS, which means that our prices are competitive with the big corporate enterprises.

Agricultural retail has been in the Kelly blood for some time. Adrian's father, Des Kelly, was a stock and station agent as was his father.
You can quite often see any of our four kids in the business as well. Samson now works on one of the counters and Zach helps customers out with their needs and loading cars. Cate and Isla help with putting stock away and cleaning shelves on occasions. Also our niece Gabbs has joined our team, and she is a great asset.

Related:
Indie store update: Kellys Wodonga part of Mitre 10 - HNN
HNN Sources


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