By Chris Nicholls

LAUNCESTON: Tasmanian electronic hardware and software retailers The Wills Group have celebrated their centenary today, kicking off a promotional giveaway that will see shoppers able to win various CE goods.

The Wills Group hardware general manager, Frank Tedeschi said the promotion would run for five weeks and prizes would total approximately $10,000.

Prizes will include plasma and LCD televisions, DVD recorders and digital still cameras from Sony, Panasonic, LG, Samsung and JVC.

Looking back, Tedeschi said there had been many changes over the years.

“I’ve been here 26 years, and in the 26 years that I’ve been here I’ve seen some changes, but when you go back and read the history of the place, it’s quite amazing. And I think the other unique thing about the place is that we still are one of the shops from its origins – the original shop that it all started from,” he said.

“We’ve just progressed over the years from gramophones to radios to black and white TV, colour TV and CDs/DVDs. We’ve got both hardware and software – in fact, we were the first in town to have a row of videos,” he said.

“We even made radios … back when they were very scarce – in the 1920s – and it was called a Wilsonia radio, and we tried to get hold of one up until recently, but they’re very scare – there were between 100-200 made, and the last one that was done up was sold to the Powerhouse museum in Sydney.”

Tedeschi said he was still looking, and would appreciate any leads. 

Wills, part of the Narta buying group, also has a separate music and DVD retail business, run by software general manager Kevin Leslie, as well as four kiosks selling mobile phones.

“Our culture’s been service – not only point of sale but also post-sale – we’ve got vans out on the road to make sure our customers are well looked after,” said Tedeschi.