By David Lee
LOCALLY owned for 60 years, varied rural commodities store WB Hunter has recently announced it would strengthen its presence in North East Victoria after purchasing Denbro Home Hardware in Cobram and Permewans Home Timber & Hardware in Yarrawonga.
With signing of contracts imminent, the purchase will see WB Hunter expand its operations from eight to 10 stores, with the two new premises set to be operational from April for Cobram and mid June for Yarrawonga, boosting WB Hunter’s equity by $10M.
WB Hunter CEO, Michael Moroney said, “You’ve got to get big or get out.
“This is a very exciting move for WB Hunter Group and for the people of both Cobram and Yarrawonga.
“THIS venture will be very exciting for us as a group as it will give staff the opportunity to grow within the group if they wish. It will give us better buying power to enable us to compete with the multi nationals and all savings will be passed back onto our customers.
“The decision was made to take on both stores due to the exit strategy placed by the current owner, Bob Scantleton who wished to retire. He didn’t want to sell the stores separately and came to us.
“He approached us and because they fit into our targeted geographical area and would be a lot more beneficial for our trade customers, we decided to jump on it.
“Both stores are purely hardware and timber, but we plan to offer our rural and steel products as well. A bigger spread of products will hopefully mean more customers.
“Our customers will benefit from efficiencies we gain by putting both of these stores under our regime. The other benefits for customers in these towns will be the addition of animal supplies especially into the pet markets for town customers. We will also introduce our loyalty cards so discounts will be passed onto loyalty customers.
“We had looked at other towns, but these two fit our bill and really drew us in.
“Our next move is to develop our existing stores like our Echuca store and we are always looking to advance in other areas,” Michael said.