A national hardware shop is looking to nail down a franchise in Tamworth. Total Tools has filed a development application to Tamworth Regional Council, for a $300,000 growth in Taminda, on the corner of Lockheed and Jewry Street, opposite Bunnings. The overall tools franchise has 65 stores all over the country, including 23 in NSW. If the Tamworth growth is given the green light, it is going to be the business’s furthest inland shop in NSW.
Total Tools project manager Mike Lazzaro said Tamworth ticked all of the boxes in relation to demographics and people. Regional Australia is no different to the high-density locations, it creates a market for them. Mr Lazzaro said that Total Tools had no difficulty being located across the street from home-improvement giant Bunnings. In actuality, they instead destination-type centers, it provides the focus for plenty of clients to come to them for the tools they need to fix their own blocked drains and burst pipes. It’s all about providing competition and having the ability to advertise the brand.
Total Tools is a self-described “tradie’s paradise”. Lazzaro said they stand by their motto, which is ‘every instrument, each transaction’. They are really well suited to the trade business, which will be their predominate market. If accepted, Mr Lazzaro said the shop would be looking to start in December, with at least six employees working at any 1 time. The development applications says the Total Tools store may serve up to 100 customers each day, with a mean of 55 customers per day.
But have you called your neighbourhood hardware store lately?
For many people a trip to the hardware shop to fix your old second storey extension may be frequent activity. In spring you may need fresh mulch and garden tools to prepare your lawn for summer; after the heat arrives it is time to have that lawn mower serviced and functioning; fall might also be a synonym for leaf blower; and winter could mean extra area heaters in the home. If you add up all the issues that come up during the year, from light bulbs to paint jobs to the worn out flapper on the bathroom that needs replacing, you might realize that you make more trips to the hardware shop than you realized.
A run to the closest big box store can look like the logical move. After all, they appear to carry everything under the sun. But how often do you end up searching for the necessary things with nobody around to help you to find it? Wouldn’t it be nice if your hardware shop connection was friendly and trustworthy? It may be time to call your locally owned hardware store like Total Tools instead.
Bill Peck is the fourth generation owner of Peck Ace Hardware at Florence’s Seven Points. A number of his employees have been with the company for five and 10 years, and his master mechanic was around for over twenty years. They are a small team and they have been here so long, Peck says they really know what they’re talking about. If you are working on a job, whether it’s advice on home extension builders and design or how to build a new deck chair, it is wonderful to return and talk to the same guy. Peck says that with them, you don’t need to explain your project repeatedly, and they can follow up and help resolve issues as soon as they come up.
Since most of us are not professional plumbers or handymen, finding someone who is educated and confident can make the difference between a frustrating home improvement project and an enjoyable experience. Big box stores may have the appeal of familiarity because they frequently dominate advertising space, but they are also notorious for supplying just part-time employment, which leads to high turnover and less knowledgeable employees. When we shop local, small companies can more easily provide full-time employment and keep their workers happy and sticking around quite a long time. Shopping local builds community and retains our dollars in the home, not sent off to a space corporate office.
ACE hardware stores are a cooperative owned by local dealers. ACE recommends things for customers to take in the shop, but separate owners make the final choice. Peck says that this allow them to bring in the product mix that’s ideal for his clients, and they keep on top of this because needs change and products change and they prefer to have the merchandise mix for anything from general plumbing and gas installations to fixing the kitchen light, as long as it’s something people are searching for.
Some independent local hardware shops, like Peck’s, also have a mechanic on the premises. Every piece of gear they sell could be serviced and repaired right from the shop without needing to send it off to the merchant. From paint fitting to plumbing and electric needs to garden tools, Peck states that when they don’t already have what a customer is looking for, they can easily get it. His shop isn’t a museum, he says. They have that old hardware shop feel that a good deal of people like, but their products are current and useful. Shopping locally benefits the client, the shop owner and the community at large. For your next project, check out your locally-owned hardware shop and find out for yourself.