By Craig Zammit & James Wells
SYDNEY: Harvey Norman Marion has been placed in the running for the Electrical Retailing Awards (ERAs) Australian Store of the Year prize after being named South Australia’s best retail store.
The Australian Store of the Year ERA is one of the four major awards to be announced on the night, with the other major Awards including Product of the Year, Supplier of the Year and Retail Organisation of the Year.
According to the store’s electrical franchisee, Linda Austin, being a female manager in the electrical retailing industry has its own perks.
“I have been here for seven months and it is good to have a girl in the seat giving all these lads a run for their money,” she told Current.com.au today.
Austin is not new to receiving accolades – she was previously a franchisee within the IT department of Harvey Norman Enfield, which was named the ERA 2006 winner for best retail store in South Australia.
Prior to moving to South Australia three years ago, Austin worked for six years with Harvey Norman at the Kawana Waters store in Queensland.
“I have come across from Harvey Norman IT into electrical. It is a big transition and change. For the store to be running as successfully as it is comes down to relationships and your people – absolutely,” she said.
Austin believes electrical retailing has experienced a transition.
“I believe retail has changed dramatically, being out on the edge in HN and keeping ahead of the pace.”
Austin recognised the efforts of the state electrical franchisee manager, David Filsell.
“I have worked closely with David and I have had the opportunity at the Marion store to make a lot of changes to push the business and obtain higher efficiencies – everything from streamlining our warehouse through to individual targeted staff development which have generated high levels of achievement,” she said.
“We move a tremendous amount of plasma and LCD as consumers become more aware of where the crossover technology is going. We are enhancing that by educating our high quality staff to be across every product. We just love Harvey Norman.”
Austin particularly recognised the 34 staff members in her business.
“They all deserve a piece of this award. It comes down to people, but at the end of the day it is about passion – being passionate about what you do and leading with passion. They all love Harvey Norman and we are passionate about Harvey Norman.”
The ERA State Store of the Year awards are determined by over 100 industry suppliers and judged on customer appeal, staff knowledge, local marketing initiative, buying and operational efficiencies and sales success.
The ERA Awards combine the efforts of the electrical retailing industry’s leading trade publication, Appliance Retailer, as well as the industry’s leading data provider, GfK Australia, in conjunction with a national judging panel representing a cross section of the industry’s leading retailers and the major suppliers and manufacturers.