Trusted name for 30 years
TIM Kessler, part owner of Home Timber and Hardware, understands the importance of looking after your customers, supporting the economy of his rural town, and gradually building a trusted rapport with his community.
Mr Kessler, who moved to Biloela from Toowoomba in 1981, said this week that he started working at the store in 1987, but left quite soon after in 1988.
"I started as a glazier but decided it wasn't for me. When I drove back into town in 1989, the owner then walked up to the car and said, 'Do you want your job back?',” he said
"So, now I've been here since February, 1989. I've done my 30-year apprenticeship so I should be right!”
Mr Kessler said he was offered the trade manager's position, and in 1996 became the general manager.
In 1998 he bought a share in the business, and in
2016 he became part owner with a new business
"I just like it, and you get to know your customers because it's a small town. We get to see them down the street and people know my name.”
"I understand that the younger generation want to move away from small country towns but it's a matter of making your own fun and we are close enough to the coast.”
He said he'd noticed that in a small community town people "seem to look after each other”.
"There's the regulars and then there's new people who come to town and you get to know them too.”
"We have fun with our trade customers and there's just that good rapport going. We have good staff here, and a regular comment we get is that the staff seem to be having fun.”
Mr Kessler, who has 15 staff at the store, said he believed business was currently "a struggle” for many.
"But I think that's a lot to do with the current dry weather conditions.
"We seem to be doing okay.”
He said it was important for locals to support local, and newcomers were often surprised by the extent of his stock range.
"A customer said recently, 'It's amazing how much stuff you keep here'. And one said, 'I didn't realise how big this place is'.”
Mr Kessler said it was easy to underestimate what was on offer in a rural town, and many new customers worried that if a town didn't have more than one option they might be getting "ripped off”.
With a second hardware shop in Biloela, he said it was important to work together at times.
"When we run short of something, we can easily ring up the other hardware shop and we help each other out.” Or we can point the customer in that direction or to other businesses in town that we think could help.
"It's all about getting people to spend money in the town and helping people out.