By Martin Vedris
EPPING, VICTORIA: The Maxwells name is back in the Victorian retail landscape after over 20 years following the opening of a new consumer electrical store in Epping, Victoria, called Maxwells The Price Strippers, which is part of the Bi-Rite Electrical group.
Located at 12/560 High Street in Epping, Victoria, the store was the dream of Paul Pierias, who worked in the original Maxwells retail chain.
“I started as a storeman in Maxwells in 1981 in the store in Altona,” Pierias told Current.com.au.
“I grew with the company and I was managing their stores for a while until they got taken over by the Vox group and the Maxwells name disappeared and it had been gone for over 20 years but I registered the name six or seven years ago and was hoping to do something with it in time and I got a couple of partners now and here we are.”
Pierias has significant consumer electrical retail experience, having also worked for JB Hi-Fi and Hi-Fi Supermarket. His aim is to open a chain of Maxwells stores.
“We’re hoping to become a chain but at this point we just want to start walking. We want to get this one running smoothly and profitably and then move into more stores after that.”
While business has not been easy in the early days, Pierias said the store has achieved some results that surprised him.
“It’s been a little bit up and down. I wouldn’t say it’s been smooth and I wouldn’t say it’s been rocky, it’s been okay.
“The brown goods part of the business is doing very well, the whitegoods side of the business is doing better than we expected already and we’ve only been open 12 weeks. The Maxwells name has helped that because the Maxwells name has been known as a whitegoods retailer in the past.
“We’ve got people coming in who still remember the Maxwells name and tell us that they bought their first washing machine from Maxwells years ago.”
In the cluttered electrical retail landscape, Pierias says that there are two key areas where Maxwells will stand out from the competition.
“After sales service and product knowledge — particularly in hi-fi, the guys here really know hi-fi.
“Also, in terms of after sales, we have not had one customer say to us that we haven’t gone way beyond what we should have done for them. I just sold a fridge 10 minutes ago, we are putting it on the truck, we are delivering it to the customer’s home and installing it where they want it to go.”