Firstly, a big congratulations to TimberTrader News on reaching its 30th anniversary, it has certainly been a constant for the timber merchants over the years. Whether it be for news and views on all aspects of our great industry.

Before the days of the internet, TimberTrader acted as Facebook for the industry. It was the only way to keep up to date with new product information, or to news about our ‘friendly’ competitors down the road, and association events. It’s always fun to have your ugly ‘mug shot’ in the magazine, acting as a conduit for merchants to contact each other and – perhaps – ‘stir up’ one another!

As an independent timber merchant, we have seen massive changes over the last 30 years, and apart from technological changes – the biggest change is the corporatisation of the whole supply chain.

This has taken away a lot of the personal contact throughout the supply chain, and while there are still some great sales representatives from wholesalers and mills in existence, to many suppliers – we are just a number.

Truthfully, this has taken away some of the enjoyment out of the trading we do.

Moving forward, our knowledge of the product ensures customers keep coming back – and because of this – I believe there is always going to be room in our market for good, independent merchants to thrive.

On a positive note, our green credentials as a sustainable industry are being heard. With well-managed forests, the general community are now very aware of the positives of using timber in their own building projects. While this is great, we need to remember to all shout our story from the rooftops, at every opportunity, to keep our industry alive.

With the ‘big boxes’ trying to take market share from the smaller players, today’s trading is all about margin, quick turnover, and trying to get paid for the goods we supply – and this applies to all merchants.

I am also a great believer in all independent timber and hardware retailers sticking together as a group to ensure we continue to offer support and confidence, especially when we are up against the current corporatised world.