By Claire Reilly

In the lead up to the opening of E&S Trading’s new showroom in Geelong at the end of last year, joint managing director Rob Sinclair (who runs the company with brother Mike and mother Kaye) said there were a few nerves.

“Before we opened the store, everything was crossed!” he said. But now, three months on, Sinclair said the store has found great success in the community.

“We really have been overwhelmed by the response,” said Sinclair. “The store itself is going particularly well considering it is in a regional location. You could potentially say that with all the current hype on consumers tightening their belts and not spending as much that really would be more so.

“But I think the thing we’ve seen is that in the Geelong marketplace, the retailers really haven’t delivered a full-scale opportunity for the customer to see a big city-style showroom in a regional area.

“It’s a big town, but no one has really delivered a shopping experience that could match what consumers could find, say, in Melbourne.”

The company clearly saw an opportunity and pounced. The store, which occupies “one of the most significant street frontages” in Geelong, is spread across two levels and is the largest in the E&S Trading group according to Sinclair. It features branded product displays from the likes of Miele, Fisher & Paykel, Blanco, Wolf, Bosch and more, as well as 600 square metres devoted entirely to smalls.

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Following the official opening weekend that took place at the end of October, Sinclair said the store had seen a great amount of foot traffic, including consumers who were willing to drive further to get better service and honest recommendations from the staff.

“It definitely has a particularly large catchment, so the travel distances are quite significant,” said Sinclair.

“What we’ve seen is, it’s unearthed a whole bunch of customers that were driving to Melbourne because they still felt they had to go there to find the more expensive, higher end or niche products. Products they thought the Geelong market wouldn’t display or potentially sustain from a retail investment point of view.

“But even before we began our full scale marketing (when we did our soft opening), the foot traffic was already phenomenal. All of our hopes have been met, and the customer base that we’ve really been enjoying in the Melbourne marketplace, we’re certainly seeing mirrored in the Geelong marketplace. I think we’re probably capturing a greater share of them than what we were.

The sales team at the new E&S Trading Geelong store.

A dedicated Miele display inside the store.