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.