Member Profile: Cooma H Hardware

Member Profile: Cooma H Hardware

Located south of Canberra, Cooma H Hardware is an independent store within an industrial estate, that is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to increase business, upskill their staff and service their local community.  David, Elizabeth and Jannene’s store first came to our attention last year when they were nominated and won the New South Wales Hardware & Industry Legends Store of the year over 2500sqm award.


How long have you been in business?

We (David, Elizabeth & Jannene are siblings) took over running the family owned business in 2002, prior to that, the business has been in our family since the mid 1970’s, so we have pretty much grown up in the hardware industry.


What have been some of the main achievements or highlights in the business over the past 12 months?

The last 12 months have been hugely successful for us.

Firstly we took out the Hardware Building Traders (HBT) NSW Regional Store of the Year, and then we were awarded Hardware Australia NSW Store of the Year – over 2500sqm.  This gave us the assurance that all the hard work and long hours are worth it and paying off.

Our business has constantly growing, expanding in many of our ranges including the nursery, timber products and gift ware range, with increases in sales to reflect this. 

12 months ago we opened a café as we felt there was a need for one in the industrial area where our store is located.  This has been a great addition with two way access from the car park as well as through our nursery.  Serving great food and coffee to the surrounding workers, new clientele and existing tradies has made the café a great success.

We are recently purchased a tipper and loader and are in the process of setting up a landscaping section. Once complete we will be providing bulk landscape supplies and deliveries.

During the January bush fire crisis, we were surrounded by fires and were a major supplier for our community.  It was extremely rewarding to be able to support our local community and help so many people in need.


What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced in your business?

Working with family…  No seriously, like many other small businesses, staffing is an everyday challenge.  Training, growing and retaining staff is an issue many of us face, and we are not immune to it either.

Currently, we are facing a challenge we have not dealt with previously. The expansion of Snowy Hydro, Snowy 2.0 is on our doorstep and we are very lucky to have this major infrastructure development in our local area.  The concrete segment factory for the new hydro tunnels is being built directly across the road from us and between them and the work taking place up in the mountains we are working hard to quote and supply building materials, tools and PPE for this major project.


What do you do differently that sets you apart from your competition?

The presentation of our store definitely sets us apart from our competitors.  We are extremely fortunate to be in a new purpose built building with a drive through warehouse area for large building supplies, plenty of parking and a very large store to display things well.  In addition to this, our staff are all very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful and go out of their way to provide a great customer experience for everyone.


What is one tip you would like to pass onto another hardware store?

Hard work pays off.  We started off in a tiny shop with only 3 staff members and with a lot of hard work and dedication, we have relocated into bigger stores twice over the years as the business has grown. Growing your business may seem like an unachievable goal, but if we can do it, so can you?


What do you think is the biggest benefit of being a member of Hardware Australia?

We have not been members of Hardware Australia for long but look forward to utilising services provided by the association, particularly in the area of education and industry-specific training for staff.

Attending the Hardware Australia award ceremony gave us the opportunity to do a lot of networking with like minded people.

Cooma H Hardware_Awards
Cooma H Hardware & HBT
WHS and employee discipline

WHS and employee discipline

Article written by Alan Girle Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors

Employers have a responsibility to do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their workers, but often the real problem is convincing the workers to look after themselves.  Motivating workers to develop a safe work culture is no easy task.  It involves a combination of instruction, incentive, reward, supervision and discipline.  If an employer is not effective in this process, they may be criminally prosecuted. While motivation may be the primary goal, employers must keep in mind that they may have to discipline a recalcitrant employee.

From a work health and safety (WHS) perspective, if a worker is injured, the test will be whether the employer has ensured, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of that worker.  The very first incident can form the basis of a prosecution, so it is important that the fundamentals are covered. The test will be whether the employer has:

  • created a safe working environment;
  • given clear instruction to employees;
  • monitored the level of compliance by its employees;
  • supervised the employees.

Examples of prosecutions of employers for employees disregarding instructions are abundant.  In New South Wales a company was convicted and fined $240,000 when a 15 year old work experience student suffered permanent loss of vision in both eyes when he was welding on the first day of a work without eye protection in place.  In Western Australia a roof carpenter was convicted and fined $27,500 after a worker lost sight in one eye as a result of a ricocheting nail from a nail gun.  In Victoria a hotel was convicted and fined $60,000 after a kitchen hand suffered serious burns to her eye from waste liquid produced after cleaning a cooking grill.

From a disciplinary perspective, it is sometimes difficult to dismiss an employee for a safety breach.  The Fair Work Commission has made it clear that it will have regard to evidence that the employee:

  • knew what was required of them;
  • knew that a breach of the safety requirement could result in dismissal;
  • had been warned that non-compliance could result in dismissal;
  • there was a pattern of non-compliance without improvement;
  • was given a fair opportunity to respond to the allegation; and
  • failed to give an adequate response to the allegation.

Dismissal following an initial breach may be harsh, unjust or unreasonable, but the breach should be used an opportunity to better ensure the safety of workers and to set up a basis that will allow strong action in the future.

At the point at which the employer wants to dismiss, then the employer should take the following steps.

  1. Give the employee details of the alleged safety breach.
  2. Allow the employee to have with them a support person.
  3. Give the employee a fair opportunity to respond.
  4. Ensure that the decision to dismiss is fair, just and reasonable.
  5. Take into account other mitigating factors such as the age of the employee, length of service, explanation for breach and a good disciplinary record.

If on balance a decision is made not to dismiss, then it is important that the employee is left with no doubt that a further safety breach may lead to dismissal. Clear documentation to this effect is advisable.

Safety breaches have the potential to result in serious injury or death for the worker involved and those around them.  In many cases a program of coaching and positive reinforcement will be adopted to develop a stronger safety culture.  However, unambiguous warnings should follow to protect the employer’s ability to manage what can be a difficult process of disciplining the employee.  Escalation and documentation is often the best approach and not only will that support the employer, the process will also act as evidence that the employer is doing what is required under WHS laws.

Need Help and guidance?

If you have any questions about your WHS practices, Dean Wilson from TABMA Australia’s WHS division can be contacted on 04109 756 991 or via email

Hardware Australia members also have access to our workplace advice line, where they can seek advice on workplace relations.

Not a member, Join Now and start accessing a range of services.

Business Continuity Plan – What is it and why is it important for your business?

Business Continuity Plan – What is it and why is it important for your business?

Business continuity is a proactive plan to avoid and mitigate risks associated with the disruption of operations. It helps you to identify and reduce risks where possible, prepare your business for risks that you cannot control and response and recover if an incident or crisis occurs. The plan details the steps to be taken before, during and after an event to maintain the financial viability of your business.


What are the benefits of a plan?

  • Many small businesses struggle to reopen after a disaster. Planning greatly improves the likelihood that your business will survive
  • It’s a plus for potential buyers and investors — it shows you’ve thought about other scenarios than simply business-as-usual. It gives your staff confidence, especially if you get them involved in planning.
  • It helps you spot good opportunities for your business now.
  • It could help you negotiate lower insurance premiums — the more resilient you are, the more likely insurers will consider you a lower risk.



What’s in a business continuity plan?

Your business continuity plan is usually a part of your business plan and should contain all of the information you need to get your business running again after an incident or crisis.

The size and complexity of your business continuity plan will depend on your business. It will typically include:

  • a risk management plan with a business impact analysis
  • an incident response plan, with details of when to use the plan, the incident response team, communication during and after an incident and a contact list
  • a recovery plan.
Type of plan Purpose of plan
Risk management plan Identifies your critical business activities. It assesses the risks to your business and strategies to minimise the impacts they could have.
Business impact analysis Identifies the activities of your business that are key to its survival, also known as critical business activities.
Incident response plan Contains all the information you will need to respond immediately before and after an incident or crisis.
Recovery plan Outlines the steps you will need to take to get your business running again after an incident or crisis.

Suggested guides and templates

If you are looking for additional resources, guides or templates have a look at the ones listed below:

 Create or update your business continuity plan (

 How to prepare an emergency management Plan (

 10 Tools to support your accounting practice’s business continuity planning (Xero Blog) 

Global Hardware Market Updates

Each month we will bring you news from global hardware groups.

This month sees Mitre 10 New Zealand announce two new appointments to their executive team, a substantial increase in the DYI projects in the UK, never before seen sales in Byggmax (Sweden), and much more…. 

Mitre 10’s CX gets a Boost

Mitre 10 has announced two new appointments to its executive leadership team (ELT).

Andrea Scown, formerly GM retail operations and an existing ELT member, has been promoted to chief customer experience officer, and award-winning people leader Anna Campbell has been appointed chief People & Capability officer. Both bring exceptionally strong leadership skills and a talent for inspiring teams.

Searches for garden DIY projects increase by 1241% due to lockdown

Stats from Rare Consulting show that between May 4th-11th, 74% of the UK population took part in some sort of home management and DIY activity. Using Google Search Trends data, Dickies have found that the search intent for DIY information has risen dramatically over the past 2-3 months.

The largest increase in searches is for garden DIY Projects, demonstrating a huge average increase of 1241% year on year of garden DIY phrases being searched for on Google. Painting and decorating follows closely, with the phrase “how to paint a room” having 179% more searches in April 2020 when compared to April 2019.


UK: Kingfisher Bounce Back in Q2 2020 

Kingfisher PLC has recently announced its 2019/20 year end financial results, and its Q1 and Q2 2020/2021 summary.

Sales for 2019/20 were down 0.8% in constant currency, and like for like (LFL) sales down 1.5% with growth at Screwfix and in Poland and Romania offset by weaker sales at B&Q, and in France, Russia and Iberia. However, there were Improved LFL sales trend in all retail banners in Q4 19/20; LFL were up 1.7% Commenting on the figures, Thierry Garnier, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, our priorities have been clear – to provide support to the communities in which we operate, to look after our colleagues as a responsible employer, to serve our customers as a retailer of essential goods, and to protect our business for the long term.”

NRHA Data Reveals Covid-19’s Home Improvement Impact  

To understand how COVID-19, shelter-in-place restrictions and customers’ new expectations for safe, reliable home improvement shopping were impacting the industry, the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) recently deployed the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey. In total, nearly 300 independent home improvement operators representing roughly 1,500 storefronts participated in the survey, shedding light on the obstacles and opportunities the pandemic has brought to the industry.

Nearly 72 percent of hardware retailers say sales have risen at their businesses amid COVID-19 compared to the same period in 2019. On average, retailers say sales have risen about 17 percent.


National Hardware Show cancels September 2020 Event. Virtual Show to be announced later in the year.

Over the last few months, the National Hardware Show (NHS) has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on members of the global hardware and home improvement community.

Originally slated to open its doors in May, the show was postponed to September. However, as the team continue to make the safety of everyone at NHS their top concern, and looking at the continued impact of COVID-19, NHS has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event. Instead of an in-person experience, NHS plans to host a virtual trade show dedicated to providing education and support that recognises and addresses the direct and essential needs of the hardware industry, later in the year

China International Hardware Show 2020 (CIHS 2020) postponed

In view of the continuous spread of COVID-19 throughout the world and the latest epidemic prevention requirements in China and the Government of Shanghai, the China National Hardware Association and Koelnmesse have prudently decided to postpone the China International Hardware Show 2020 (CIHS 2020) from August 7 – 9, 2020 to October 8 – 10, 2021. The event will still be held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC).

Co-hosted by the China National Hardware Association and Koelnmesse, CIHS has been held for 19 continuous editions and become the largest international professional hardware show in the Asia-Pacific region.

Cainz Opens First “Style Factory” Shop in Tokyo Area

Cainz will open two Style Factory shops in the Tokyo metropolitan area this summer.

These metro concept stores will offer a place in which customers can find tips to express their own styles in daily life, hence their characterisation as “Lifestyle DIY Shops”. A wide range of selected products will be available, through a variety of services such as household products that make housework fun, DIY supplies to add a twist in the home and design-conscious interior products that create space to spend time with pets.

The floor layout of these stores will not be based on functional categories as in usual stores, but on solution categories such as “& Pet”, “SMALL SPACE”, “Good Sleep”, “Easy Yoga” and “CREATIVE.


Arckland Sakamoto Acquires LIXIL Viva 

Arckland Sakamoto, a regional DIY chain in Japan, recently announced that it will make LIXIL Viva a wholly owned subsidiary of its company.

The integration, based on a spirit of equality, will result in a transition to a holding structure by the end of fiscal 2021. The holding company targets sales of JPY 500 billion and operating income of JPY 40 billion (operating margin: 8%) in 10 years.

In FY2020, LIXIL Viva posted sales of JPY 196.9 billion and Arckland posted sales of JPY 112.7 billion, therefore posting combined sales of JPY 309.6 billion, beating out Nafco, the fifth largest company in the Japanese DIY sector.

Following the integration there will be a total 138 stores – 38 Arckland stores and 100 LIXIL Viva stores. The two companies have little area overlap and are complementary, with the aim to become a leading company in the industry as a national market, rather than a regional chain.

Industry sees IPM ESSEN as an essential communication platform.

“Personal contact cannot be replaced by digital communication”, the advisory board of IPM ESSEN agreed in its first meeting after the Corona break. The crisis has made it clearer than ever how important exchange within the green industry is in order to stay up to date and to drive the business forward.

The next IPM ESSEN from 26th to 29th January 2021 at Messe Essen offers all this. In addition to an extensive range of exhibits in the fields of plants, technology, floristry and garden features, a top-class supporting programme with trend shows, workshops, forums and competitions will accompany the world’s leading fair for horticulture.

Oliver P. Kuhrt, Managing Director of Messe Essen: “The health and well-being of our guests is our top priority. The hygiene concept is well thought-out and tested. Experience has shown that trade fairs with appropriate measures work perfectly. The thoroughly positive feedback makes us look confidently towards IPM ESSEN 2021”.


Messe Frankfurt celebrates its 780th anniversary

On 11 July 1240, Emperor Frederick II granted trade fair rights to Frankfurt am Main, marking the birth of Messe Frankfurt.

As soon as Messe Frankfurt celebrates its 780-year anniversary, it will be getting straight back to business: following a global lockdown lasting multiple months, Messe Frankfurt is once again holding trade fairs. Smaller events are already underway on the Frankfurt exhibition grounds, and trade fairs will be joining them soon: Nordstil will be leading the way in Hamburg in September, followed by the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Replacement dates have also been planned in 2020 for many of the Group’s postponed events worldwide.

Wolfgang Marzin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Messe Frankfurt, stated “The trade fair landscape will change as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and topics such as digitalisation, safety and security will have a key role to play. Yet the trade fair industry’s most important success factor remains personal encounters – something that Messe Frankfurt’s platforms have been making possible for 780 years now.”

Byggmax Achieves Highest Quarterly Sales and Profit in their History

The second quarter 2020 was the best in Byggmax’s history. Sales increased 39%, scale effects were very strong, and the EBITA margin doubled to 14%.

In the second quarter, strategic growth initiatives continued to deliver at or above expectations. E-commerce sales increased by 62%, supported by a larger assortment and last year’s investments in an improved site and more delivery options. “Order online, pick up in store” is emerging as a preferred consumer alternative and a natural strength for Byggmax with their 167 stores. In the second quarter, Byggmax collect@store service was used for 14% of orders, an increase from 4% last year.

25% Plus for DIY store in May

DIY stores in France made an enormous jump in sales in May, despite stores only gradually opening again from 11 May. Sales went up by 24.52 per cent compared to May 2019 after they had lain at 50 and 60 per cent below the respective previous year’s values in March and April. Mathieu Pivain, president of the DIY association FMB, who has published figures from the Banque de France, stated that the “excellent results proves the robustness of the DIY market in France, and confirms the enthusiasm of the French for DIY”.

Triple-digit growth in online retailing. 

During the height of the Covid-19 crisis in Spain, online retailing in the DIY sector witnessed growth rates of 300 to 400%.

Proximity commerce is also doing well as a result of the pandemic, said César Navarro, the official responsible for the business department at the Spanish manufacturer’s association AFEB. 

A recent survey on how companies have handled the pandemic was present at the AFEB Members’ Assembly. The survey found that 65% of respondents said that they had opted for shorter working hours during the crisis, however, for 80% this is now no longer the case. 77% of manufacturers had experienced interruptions to the supply chain. Digitalisation had accelerated for 97%, while 85% are considering selling via the Internet.

GfK Research finds Gardening Grows 79% in May

According to GfK, sales of gardening products increased by 79% in value in May, driving the recovery of the DIY Superstores channel.

In March and April, the sector experienced a sharp slowdown, with a trend of -48% and of -19% compared to the same period in 2019. However, Italians appear to have rediscovered the pleasure of taking care of their gardens and the market has now experienced record growth.

More generally, focusing on DIY Stores channel only, the GfK data shows a strong recovery for the entire DIY sector in May, with overall sales growth of + 43.5%.

The very positive results for May also allowed recovery following the losses recorded during the eight weeks of lockdown: in fact, since the beginning of the year, the Gardening sector shows an overall growth of + 9.1% in value compared to 2019.


Hardware Forum Italy Postponed to 2021

The organisers of the Italian Hardware Show have acknowledged the impossibility to hold the event previously scheduled for the 22 and 23 of September in Milan. This is following the Prime Ministerial Decree of 14/07 with the extension of the state of emergency and the ban on holding of trade fairs and congresses.

Considering the needs of manufacturers and operators in the entire supply chain, and at a time when all those involved are called to make concrete economic commitments, the organisers believe that postponing the event until 2021 is the best solution.

The next edition of the Hardware Forum Italy is due to take place in September 2021 with exact dates to be confirmed.

Builders Set to Expand

Builders is set to expand into East Africa with its first store in the region’s largest commercial hub, Nairobi, Kenya.

The store, covering almost 10,000 m2 of trading and dispatch space and garden centre, will bring a wide range of high-quality DIY, home improvement and building materials products and services to the Waterfront Karen from the end of August 2020.

Kenya will join Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia as regions outside the retailer’s stronghold of South Africa for continued growth.