The Victor Harbor Bunnings Store opened to the public on Monday, July 30.
An official opening is being held on Tuesday, July 31.
Victor Harbor News was treated to a tour of Bunnings by the complex manager, Danny Leach, and a handful of “team members”. It was pointed out to us that Bunnings has team members not staff.
There seemed to be hundreds of other team members beavering away in the 10,000 square metre complex (considered a medium warehouse for the company). Mobile cleaners were at work ensuring nothing was left as a hazard on the floor, a task which can’t have been easy during the recent wet weather.
The sheer scale of the development, and the inclusions is like nothing we have currently in Victor Harbor, although clearly there are crossovers with other businesses who sell the huge range of items filling the towering shelves.
Among the surprises to someone who has never been into a Bunnings before were the fact that the store includes a large playground, café and about a dozen car parks within the building where you can load your hardware and timber away from the elements.
The technology that’s used is also impressive and changes the way we shop. Mobile point of sale is used throughout the trade area of the building so you don’t need to go to a centralised checkout and wait in line.
Large areas are available for people to plan their renovation projects and it was a surprise to learn that Bunnings don’t just provide do-it-yourself choices, but also offer team members to come to your home or business to help you make the choices too.
The enthusiasm of the team members is quite infectious and, although the company has a policy of not allowing a focus on an individual, it’s clear from a chat with a few of them that the development has provided exciting employment opportunities for locals, some of whom haven’t worked in this type of business before.
The team members have been at work in inductions and stocking the shelves for about four weeks, and watching them at work was akin to seeing a bee hive in action. Despite their relative infancy with the company the team seemed to know exactly where to go and what to do.
More than 90 locals have been employed at the warehouse and a quick glance around shows they come from a wide range of age groups and backgrounds. Some are tradies or have experience in retail while, for some, this is a world away from their career path to date.
On Thursday night the store played host to about 500 people including local tradies and members of its Power Pass club.
AFL legend and dual premiership Crows coach Malcolm Blight will conduct the official opening on Tuesday during a private invitation-only event.
Although not yet open Bunnings has already made in-roads into assisting local community organisations and projects.
As well as the regular fundraising sausage sizzles, which have already been heavily booked by local groups, some of the other projects the team members will become involved in are projects within the early learning centre at Encounter Lutheran College and assisting with the pygmy possum project for the South Coast Environment Centre.
Main picture: Tahnee Thatcher and complex manager Danny Leach in front of the tile matching area within the new Bunnings Victor Harbor store.