Interview with Terry Friend – Regional Mitre 10 Business For Sale – perfect for a “tree change”?

We continue our series on Australian buying opportunities by speaking to Terry Friend, an Exit Strategist and Succession Planner, who has recently put up a leading Mitre 10 in regional NSW on the market. With owners looking to retire and located in southern NSW, the store has a captive market and services a wide footprint in the surrounding agricultural region.
Thanks for speaking with us. Firstly, what brought the owners into the business? Can you tell us a about their background?
The owner/operator and his wife have been in retail hardware for more than a decade, and are well known in the Deniliquin area.
They wish to ensure that the new owners transition into the Mitre 10 store as quickly and effectively  as possible, and have been anxious to advise prospective owners that they will be around to make sure the transition is successful for all concerned.
What were some of the challenges faced to get the business to where it is today?

The business has been built up for more than a decade by the current owners, with great support from the Mitre 10 Group.  The most serious challenge has been the establishment of the Bunnings store in Echuca, about 4 years ago.  The Deniliquin Mitre 10 has withstood the initial challenge, and with superior customer service, competitive but realistic pricing, and comprehensive product offering and after sales service, has continued to grow.

After many years drought in the area Deniliquin is now back on the map for agricultural production – beef cattle and fine wool.  The Mitre 10 store has not only survived the drought but has continued to grow year on year.
What markets does this Mitre 10 focus on? The business is located in Deniliquin in regional NSW. What are some of the upsides of buying a business in the region?
The town of Deniliquin NSW has a population of around 8,000.  Deniliquin is a service centre for the surrounding agricultural region in southern central New South Wales. The region includes both dryland and irrigated areas. The dryland areas support grazing, in particular beef cattle and wool growing. Deniliquin is home to many famous Merino studs and the saltbush plains produce quality medium class wool.
The Mitre 10 store therefore successfully serves both a town based and rural population, and is the only general hardware store (including for tradesmen) within 80km of the town.  This store is also the only plant nursery in the wider area of Deniliquin.
The potential of the store continues to grow with recent re-opening of the abattoir, and the approval imminent of the Korean ethanol plant on the outskirts of town.
What stage of development is the business in? What are its key strengths? How has this evolved since the owners began running the business?
The Deniliquin Mitre 10 is a mature retail business with considerable upside potential.  The owners have focused on superior customer service and a product range to satisfy the local population, including trades and farmers.
The current owners have been quite entrepreneurial in the product offering.  As an example, in one corner of the store is a bicycle sales and service section – not large, but servicing the town after the local bicycle store owner decided to retire and close his store.  Similarly, the plant nursery section of the Mitre 10 is effectively a monopoly in the surrounding footprint and is constantly stocked with a very large range of quality plants to serve the town.
Who would suit running this business?
This business would be ideal for a ‘tree change’ entrepreneur.  As a rural location for someone seeking to change out of the big city Deniliquin is perfect.  The business provides an extremely good return for an owner/operator and the rural lifestyle is ready made – fishing and water sports on the Murray, wide open spaces, relaxed and friendly lifestyle.
Alternatively, for a farmer who is in a position to get off the land and move closer in, the business will return many times over for someone who knows the needs of the local farmers, as well as servicing the local town population.
The Deniliquin Mitre 10 could also operate most effectively under management.  For an existing hardware store owner/operator (in another town or locality) this store could return handsomely under an effective manager.  The staff are mostly long term and are extremely loyal to the store and the town, and under the right manager will continue to offer the service for which the store is renowned.
Given that the business is going so well, why is the owner selling now?
Unfortunately the existing owner/operator has some very serious health issues and is forced to retire.
What further opportunities are there for a new owner to grow this business?
The most obvious opportunity is an expansion of the store into landscaping supplies – bulk supply of sand, soil, mulch etc., and, space permitting, expansion of general building supplies (given the likelihood of an expansion of house building in the area in the next few years).
What’s the most interesting part of running Mitre 10 Deniliquin? What should a new owner expect?
The Deniliquin Mitre 10 is somewhat iconic as a retail store in Deniliquin, everyone goes there – for tools, for kitchen appliances, for BBQs, for outdoor furniture, for plants, for pool supplies, for paint, for nails, bolts and screws, and now for bicycles and repairs.
Given the hardware market the new owner can expect to be embraced by the Mitre 10 organization, with loads of support and goodwill.  The Mitre 10 Group guards its stores and territory extremely closely.  The organization will seek to make sure the Deniliquin store will even surpass the success the store has had to date
Thanks for your time Terry

Call Terry Friend on 0418 370 687 to discuss in more detail.

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