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Store managers are the kingpins

Bunnings2Take your best and worst performing stores. Say the top and bottom 10 per cent.

Now rate your managers on a scale of one to four with four being good and one being poor.

Now compare the best and worst performing stores to your best and worst store managers.

Hardly rocket science but you will doubtlessly not be surprised at the result. Yes – the top stores have the best managers and the worst stores have the worst managers.

Now replace a poor manager with a good manager and guess what happens. That store starts to perform better.

A kingpin is a person or thing that is essential to the success of an organisation or operation. And that is what store managers are.

Hardware stores such as Bunnings are blokey kind of places where you don’t expect to get outstanding service. In fact it is sometimes hard to find any help at all.

I recently visited Bunnings in West Gosford and I was blown away with the service. You know that feeling when you go into a store and people avoid eye contact. They clearly don’t want to be asked a question. The exact opposite happens at Bunnings West Gosford. The staff greet you, ask you how you are going, can they help – even carry things for you to the check out. They are all smiley and happy and it is infectious.

I asked to see the manager who turned out to be Michael Staines and I asked him how he did it. And his simple answer was that they work hard at it. And that is what engendering a good service ethic is all about. It’s not a training course but rather a way of life. It is part of the culture of a store.

And another thing. Michael has succeeded in making it genuine. There is nothing worse than a contrived smile or greeting. You can sense it and when you do, look back at the person and you will see that they are back to frowning. Not so in Michael’s store.

Many store managers need to pay a visit to the West Gosford store to witness first hand what is happening there.  

Stuart Bennie is a retail consultant at Impact Retailing and can be contacted at or 0414 631 702

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