By Sarah Falson

MELBOURNE: Bob Sinclair, founder and owner of Melbourne-based electrical retail chain, E&S Trading, passed away this morning after a long illness.

Sinclair was a significant figure in the appliance industry – E&S Trading opened in 1962 and was one of the founding members of buying group, Narta.

E&S Trading general manager, Greg Lake, said Bob will be remembered by many as a determined business man, passionate family man and a generous person.

“In business, Bob always put the customers first. He had an inspiring way with customers that turned many from customers, in to life-long friends. These ‘friends’ send their family and friends into E & S stores for sound advice and a great deal," said Lake.

“Our tribute to Bob will be our ability to maintain this kind of relationship with not only Bob’s friends, but all of our customers.

“I am sure that many in the electrical industry will be as one as we mourn the passing of Bob, and share a heavy heart with Kaye, Rob & Sam, Mike & Ylla; and their respective families."

Bob Sinclair had been a part of the appliance retailing business since opening his first store in Ashburton, Victoria in 1962, and only handed the managing directorship of the business over to his sons Robert and Michael in 2005. The two run E&S Trading’s day-to-day business, including the running of three stores situated in Ashburton, Geelong and Blackburn.

“Bob’s passion for his customer’s will continue under the stewardship of Rob and Mike who share this enthusiasm for great customer service. Bob’s wife Kaye remains an active and passionate participant in the business. Bob had demonstrated his ability to adapt to the ever changing market with his business surviving the test of time,” said Lake.

“I know what Bob would be saying right now: ‘come on, we’ve got phones to answer and customers to serve. That’s enough fuss, let’s get on with it’.”

Sampford & Staff managing director, Paul Bridgeford – a supplier of premium cooking brands to E&S Trading, told this afternoon of Sinclair’s dedication to retailing.

“Bob was an identity and a character in our industry. He and Kaye had devoted their life to building E&S Trading and it is sad to think he will not reap the benefits in retirement. 

“Bob and Kaye were always helpful to Mark and I and we appreciate the tremendous support Bob gave us as we became a supplier to E&S and within the Narta group. 

“Bob the quiet achiever, you will be sadly missed. At least up there you will be pleased to know that E&S is in such capable hands.”

In late 2005 E&S Trading underwent its first significant image overhaul in 30 years. Both the company logo and shop design were revamped, the Box Hill store was closed and replaced with one located at Blackburn, while its Ashburton warehouse was expanded.