After 98 years, L&M and Gold Star come together to launch premium Gold Coast appliance showroom

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Two Gold Coast electrical appliance specialists have joined forces after a combined 98 years servicing Surfers Paradise and its surrounds to form a one stop shop for retail and commercial appliances.

Image Gallery: From renting Kriesler TVs for 19 quid per month to the Dynamic Duo! It’s L&M’s wonderful history in pictures

L&M Gold Star is opening this week at 2582 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach, Queensland, which is alternatively described as the Pacific Highway in Broadbeach. The new venture brings together L&M Electrics, first opened in 1963, and Gold Star Electrics, which started traded fives years later.

L&M was opened by Neil Petch as an independent retailer, specialising in electronics, including very early model television sets and cabinets, as well as home appliances. Petch later sold out to Gold Coast Tourism head honcho Peter Hughes, and the business then passed to Hughes’ daughter Trina Hockley. In the late 1990s, Hockley took L&M to the Retravision Group, which was true powerhouse at the time and was still enjoying its halcyon days. In the early 2000s, Hockley became the youngest boardmember in Retravision’s history, though she became dissatisfied with the co-operative and returned to being an independent. A short time later, Guy Houghton convinced Hockley to take the L&M Electrics to the Betta group, and she and her sister Joy opened a second outlet at the once-glamorous Pacific Fair shopping centre. When that lease expired, Hockley decided not to renew and to instead refocus the business on commercial-only sales, based out of L&M’s original Mermaid Beach property.

The Gold Star Electrics business was founded and operated John and Clare Starkey. Its focus has always been on retail residential consumer electronics and appliances, so while the Starkeys and Hockley have often dealt with the same suppliers and similar products, competition between the two has mostly been muted. The plan now for L&M Gold Star is to cater to high-end customers of premium kitchen appliances. This is seen as a major growth area for the industry, with several leading retailers opening new showrooms, acquiring businesses to facilitate expansion into new territories or deliberately realigning their marketing strategy to attract the cashed-up, renovating consumer.

Hockley said she was very proud to be embarking on the next chapter of her career and looked forward to working with some of the best brands in this space. The retailer remains a member of the Betta group but it will not carry prominent Betta branding, Hockley said, referring to the venture as a “Betta Buying Associate”.

“Our proud Gold Coast history is important to our team,” she said. “The success and longevity of the two family businesses comes down to two factors: quality and service. We stock the best quality brands including European leading appliances from Smeg, Electrolux, AEG, V-Zug, ASKO, Liebherr and Bertazzoni and our staff are trained to exceed our customer expectations and deliver the best possible outcomes.

“The new L & M Gold Star business means we have greater economies of scale which ultimately delivers more opportunity for our staff and our customers.”

The new showroom will be officially opened on Friday 8 May 2015 by the area’s Federal MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Karen Andrews, and the event will feature Smeg chef Jan Woods cooking up a storm for guests.

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