GOOD ADVICE: Eastern Suburbs Hardware owner Gerry Galligam says he can help out with customers' queries.
GOOD ADVICE: Eastern Suburbs Hardware owner Gerry Galligam says he can help out with customers' queries. Cordell Richardson

Little guy rare survivor of big box onslaught

BUSINESSES could learn a thing or two about Eastern Suburbs Hardware's focus on industry knowledge, customer service and quality products.

This is the edge that local retailers such as Eastern Suburbs Hardware boss Gerry Galligam bring to the local retail world.

Mr Galligam said he had been in the industry since he was 16 years old. He has owned the business for 12 years.

He said hardware has been a major part of his life.

"I worked in sales. I managed Benchmark which later became BBC Hardware. I ended up working for myself as a concreter. I could see that many of the local businesses were losing out to the big-box stores,” Mr Galligam said.

Smaller business players have found a niche as consumers seek local products or services and also advice and experience.

Eastern Suburbs Hardware was founded by Henry and Adele Christie in 1965. The original store was on the corner of Cemetery and Whitehill roads and later moved to its present premises at 84 Cemetery Rd, Eastern Heights.

Mr Christie was innovative and introduced the first hire service for building and associated products. His range included anything from cement mixers to lawn mowers and tools.

Mr Christie sold the store when he became an SES co-ordinator and Arthur Kathage bought it and operated the store from 1978-2007, with Mr Galligam then taking it over.

"We work hard at offering personalised and prompt service; we have a delivery truck so we can meet demands,” Mr Galligam said.

"The concrete services are our growth area. We are doing a lot of steel reinforcement in the industry and have gone from two to three tonnes a month to now 90 tonnes a month,” he said

"Most people think we are not competitive on price. The reality is we don't have the overheads. We have lower overheads and belong to a buying group of independent hardware stores that is 700-strong.”

The HBT buying group, of which Eastern Suburbs Hardware is part, gains competitive prices for independent stores.

Mr Galligam said he can offer advice to assist handymen buy exactly what it is they need.

Eastern Suburbs Hardware bases it success around service and competitive prices.

Mr Galligam believes supermarket hardware stores can still be beaten on price and Eastern Suburbs Hardware holds its own in an often tough environment.

Eastern Suburbs Hardware is located at 84 Cemetery Road, Raceview. Phone 32813327.



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