Andi-co drops Prestige and appoints JH Wilberforce for WA market

By James Wells and Martin Vedris

MELBOURNE: Andi-Co Australia has announced it has terminated its relationship with Prestige Distributors after five years and will transfer the WA agency to JH Wilberforce from 1 December.

Andi Co managing director, Rob Hoorn, told Current.com.au there were a couple of reasons why he made the decision to terminate the relationship with Prestige Distributors.

“WA is booming and our four brands are going very well and at this stage, it is a necessity to have stock on hand for the retailers. One of the main reasons we made our decision was because Tony and Jean do not have a warehouse,” Hoorn said.

Tony Rowson of Prestige Distributors, said the decision was a surprise as he had recently put on a new employee to keep up with the sales.

“Rob never even floated the idea with us, never discussed it with us,” Rowson told Current.com.au today.

“We’ve been the agent for five years, we’ve been writing sales in excess of 165 per cent of budget month in month out. We went on leave overseas for two weeks then when we came back in we received a two line email from Rob which was sent from his secretary and that was the extent of the conversation.

“I’ve sent him an email to ask why and we haven’t been told who was appointed in our place, although we have heard in the marketplace who has been appointed and all the training has already been done in Melbourne with the new agent.

“We asked Rob directly four weeks ago whether there were going to be any changes because we were going to hire someone and we employed that person on the basis that Rob said there would be no changes.”

Rowson said that he didn’t understand the warehousing had become an issue for Andi-Co.

“We’ve been associated with Andi-co for five years. We didn’t have a warehouse initially, then we opened a warehouse and then Rob asked us to close it 18 months ago because he wanted to third party warehouse stock, which we’ve been doing.

“We worked very hard for five years and we’re just seeing light at the end of the tunnel for our agency and he’s just pulled the carpet out from underneath us, and we have to terminate the employment with our young guy now.

“Business is business and I don’t have a problem with that and I understand that things change, and if the reasons he has given are fair, but we took it from Rob face to face personally, that there was going to be no change. Then after all that time of association with the company for him to send us an email is below the belt.”

Rowson, who is still the agent for Transtherm and Vintec, said that he had received messages of support from retailers.

“From the retail industry over here, our phones have been running red hot for the past 48 hours with people offering support and saying they’re sorry we’ve lost the agency.”

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