Narta acquires 99-year old retailer from Tasmania

By Sarah Falson

LAUNCESTON, Tas: After 20 years of membership with Betta Stores Retail (BSR), and previously Betta Stores Limited (BSL), electrical retailer Wills – The Quadrant in Launceston has joined the Narta buying group, effective April 1.

The family-owned, 99-year-old store which will celebrate its 100th birthday in February next year was bought-out by four former employees three and a half years ago, including the general manager and self-confessed “toilet cleaner” and “truck driver”, Frank Tedeschi, who has been working at the store for 25 years. 

In a strategic move for Narta whose members usually specialise in major cooking appliances, the buying group has added the Wills store – which sells no appliances but instead stocks mobile phones and audio and visual products – to strengthen its audio visual representation.

“We are very strong in audio and visual,” said Tedeschi.

“We look at ourselves often in many facets, and we realised that this was where we were best suited. We felt that Narta was a partnership we wanted to be involved in on an ongoing basis.”

The Wills store was privately-owned since its inception in 1909, with the final family member remaining at the helm for 44 years until 1987 when the store became a member of BSL and then BSR for 20 years after that.  

“In regards to our association with Betta, we wish the new BSR structure well for the future,” said Tedeschi.

The 1,200-square-metre store boasts a 400-square-metre showroom and 30 staff members, including casual employees, most of which work in the “music department”, which is a major focus for the store. 

Becoming a Narta member will allow the Wills store to access more brands as the $2.5 billion buying group has several times more buying power than BSR.

“We have a couple of options here that might open up. We had access to the major brands at BSR, but there are some possibilities here with Narta,” said Tedeschi. 

The Wills store will host a “huge celebration” when it turns 100 next year.

“We are in planning already – some major things are happening. This is a real milestone in any industry, let alone this one,” said Tadeschi.

“I look pretty good for 99 too, by the way.”

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