October is a special month here at VUETRADE. It is the month we award a VUETRADE Platinum Distributor member for the commitment they have in providing a full range of our products to their clients. Part of the VUETRADE mission is to “Empower trade outlets and tradesmen everywhere” and the Stores across Australia are helping us to do just that.
The VUETRADE Store of the year award has an important value for us, it is the time where give recognition of the Store’s effort of serving their clients with VUETRADE full range of Timber Connectors. It is also a very tough process as we have to choose only one from many great platinum members.
Mt Alexander Timber and Hardware was chosen because of their commitment to growth, their prompt customer service helping customers with either ready to go or custom made products, the positive way to handle the challenges though out the years learn and grow from them and for their eagerness to always improving quality with innovative products which are VUETRADE most important values.
Mt Alexander Timber and Hardware is a locally owned hardware store located in Campbells Creek, 5kms from the Castlemaine CBD in Central Victoria. The store comprises dedicated Timber, Hardware, Paint, Plumbing and Garden departments, along with a fleet of delivery vehicles, including a crane truck. With approximately 1400sqm of floor space under roof, large yard space and a team of 34 staff, we cater to builders, home renovators, gardeners and retail customers in the Castlemaine and surrounding areas.
The store previously traded as ‘Beards Hardware’ before being purchased by 3 locals in December 2017. Mt Alexander Timber & Hardware Pty Ltd was formed and joined the Hardware and Building Traders (HBT) Group. HBT is an independent buying group which allows us to source quality products at a great price with the power of big buy. With leading brands and professional service, Mt Alexander Timber and Hardware is a one-stop-shop where customers can get the right stuff – a marketing slogan by HBT and adopted by the store.
The store is led by managing director Rodney Hickey, who has over 15 years’ experience in the hardware industry, alongside two other directors, Trevor Butcher a local registered builder and Lachlan Maltby a Charted Accountant with his own practice in Castlemaine. Together, this trio brings together a unique set of skills which has seen a planned and successfully executed business plan brought to life.
The success of the business to date can also be attributed to the return of local shopping by builders, trades and retail customers, who previously were sourcing products and services outside the region. This increase in local shopping can be credited to the increase in stock levels, a product range which is in excess of 10,000 product lines, delivery service and customer service that Mt Alexander Timber & Hardware have provided. The re-brand and upgrade of facilities have also seen a significant attraction of retail customers to the store. Along with the economic benefits of locals shopping local, over the past 12 months, the number of employees has increased by 50% providing a local employment opportunity to many who would have normally travelled outside of the region for employment.
With plans of further store upgrades, a more developed digital presence with online shopping and additional involvement with the community, Mt Alexander Timber & Hardware will continue to be the choice of many for their Timber and Hardware needs.
(Note: We commenced trading in December 2017)
We have been able to support staff in training and development, the most recent of these being a Hardware Department employee gaining his heavy vehicle license and transition into our Timber Yard delivery team.
We have encountered numerous challenges in our short time to trading. We can attribute some of these to taking over an existing business, our regional location and rapid expansion and growth of the business. We have listed some of these challenges below.
– New racking and shelving throughout the store have enabled products to be safely stored and removed hazards from the floor.
– A big issue for locals was a lack of stock and availability. We have increased the stock on hand and added additional product lines to cater to many requests. This has seen a significant return of locals shopping local again. Despite costing a significant amount of capital to do this, the increase in sales and customer count has reflected the benefits of this.
– We restored a 2nd car park that was previously used to hold the stock back to a car park to provide further space for customers which have encouraged trades who require a longer visit to the store to park and shop, and not hold up our drive-thru lane.
– The addition of a customised engineered jig to our side loader forklift has allowed for safer loading and unloading practices for our staff.
– The extension of the Garden Department to allow for deliveries from the rear has removed the hazard to others identified in our traffic management plan and increased employee efficiency.
– Inwards goods has developed a rolling bench customised to a height to increase efficiency in the processing of stock inward and reduce the manual component in this role.
– Our traffic management plan identified supplier delivery issues with lack of space. To address this, we purchased neighbouring land at the rear of the shop for the supplier trucks to enter and exit
Phase two of this issue was completed in late 2019 and that was an increase in the height of the shed roller doors to enable a more efficient delivery process. This allows delivery vehicles of a semi-truck nature to enter via Main Rd, proceed through the drive-thru for unloading and then exit via silver street. This has also seen a reduction in noise for the local properties surrounding the store.
– After an extensive OHS assessment by us internally, the store re-brand including external painting, new lighting, heating and internal floor painting has seen significant improvements to safety for the team.
We thank Mt Alexander Timber and Hardware team for the ongoing support to the VUETRADE range and we are also looking forward to years of a great partnership.
Honouring all the effort and hard work delivered to clients and suppliers, we are pleased to award Mt Alexander Timber and Hardware our STORE OF THE YEAR 2020.
Watch our chat with Rod (Mt Alexander Timber and Hardware) and Neil (VUETRADE) as well as the walk through the store.