Mitre 10 and Home Timber & Hardware members were among the winners in a night for independents.
Kate Cebrano sang. Scott Cam and Catriona Rowntree took on hosting duties, and almost 1500 guests sat back to enjoy a superb dinner and the excitement of the Independent Hardware Group (IHG) Awards of Excellence on February 14, in Adelaide.
From over 720 independently owned businesses operating under the brands Mitre 10, Home Timber & Hardware, Thrifty-Link Hardware and True Value Hardware, ten were named National Store of the Year for hardware in Australia (well, nine hardware and one garden centre, if we’re being precise.) In addition, five suppliers were given the top gongs in their fields and several outstanding individuals were recognised for their leadership and innovation, along with state finalists in all categories.
The Store of the Year awards involve a year-round judging process and are presented to the best-performing retailers who encapsulate the spirit of independent, family business. Stores are judged on a range of criteria including sales, store standards, service and community support.
Each winner brought their own unique flavour to the awards. Glynde Mitre 10 in South Australia hosts weekly tradies’ breakfasts and Weber BBQ ‘cook-ups’ most weekends. Manjimup Motors True Value Hardware has only a small store footprint, but its carefully tailored range makes it something of a Tardis, fitting more than seems possible inside. It’s a similar story at Sunlite Mitre 10 in inner-Sydney Paddington, where a 400m2 footprint is coupled with a strong culture of customer service that’s netted over 10,000 Mighty Rewards loyalty members.
Many stores and their families are central to their communities. Provans Home Timber & Hardware sees people come from across Melbourne for their specialist timber. Pink’s Mitre 10 in SA has its sixth generation of Pinks running the store, which has been going for over 150 years. Port Broughton Hardware in the same state is a shining example of the Best Store in Town with its convenient home improvement offer, while Queensland’s Raff Home Timber & Hardware is a stalwart of the Darling Downs, famous for its ‘truly local’ hardware and rural supplies business.
Then there were the winners who set out to be exceptional in a particular part of the business. For Bayswater Mitre 10, a focus on servicing the trade with multiple drive-through lanes in the undercover timber yard and a comprehensive delivery service has paid off in spades. While Amanda and Paul Stewart have turned their passion for the garden centre at Barrow & Bench into 40% of the store’s turnover. Amanda is also a frequent contributor to SA Gardens magazine.
Newcomers weren’t left out: Gubbins Home Timber & Hardware opened in 2015, but has already amassed a huge customer base in the Southern Highlands – not to mention their loyal tradies and landscapers.
Mark Laidlaw, CEO of IHG, said, “ We’re exceptionally proud of all winners. We’re fortunate to have such strong leadership and innovation within our network.”
The evening was also a chance to pay tribute to a number of individuals for their leadership, dedication and contribution in shaping the independent hardware market. This included Mike Fergus, of Petries Mitre 10, who was awarded the prestigious CEO Recognition Award, and brothers David and Kerry Woodman, who were honoured with Hall of Fame recognition for over 30 years helping to shape the network through their time, expertise and counsel to peers.
As Laidlaw said, “Awards like these are important to celebrate the unique benefits that family-owned businesses provide to local communities. The IHG awards nights are something to behold where passion, emotion and family pride quite rightly take centre stage. A true celebration of Successful Independents.”
Glynde Mitre 10, Hectorville SA National Mitre 10 Store of the Year (Large Format)
Bayswater Timber Mitre 10, Vic National Trade Centre of the Year
Pink’s Mitre 10, Clare SA National Mitre 10 Store of the Year (Medium Format)
Sunlite Mitre 10, Paddington NSW National Mitre 10 Store of the Year (Small Format)
Gubbins Home Timber & Hardware, Moss Vale NSW National HTH Store of the Year (Over 1000m2)
Provans Home Timber & Hardware, Clifton Hill Vic National Trade Store of the Year
Raff Home Timber and Hardware, Pittsworth Qld National HTH Store of the Year (Under 1000m2)
Barrow & Bench Mitre 10, Malvern SA National Garden Centre of the Year
Port Broughton Hardware, SA National Store of the Year – Thrifty-Link Hardware
Manjimup Motors True Value Hardware, WA National Store of the Year – True Value Hardware
Makita Australia National Supplier of the Year
Hume Doors ‘Timber’ Supplier of the Year
Cement Australia ‘Build’ Supplier of the Year
Makita Australia ‘Fix’ Supplier of the Year
Sherwin-Williams ‘Living’ Supplier of the Year
CTI Logistics ‘Logistics’ Supplier of the Year
David Woodman & Kerry Woodman, QLD Hall of Fame
Mike Fergus, Petries Mitre 10, NSW CEO Recognition Award
Samantha Standley, Globe HTH, Broken Hill NSW ‘Mighty Helpful’ Service Award
Ian Bauer, IHG Blue Blood Award