DAHLSEN’S has sold its Sebastopol site to Ballarat-based business G. Gay and Co Hardware for $7.25 million.
The sale is the latest hardware shake-up for Ballarat in recent years and comes just 12 months after a failed bid by Woolworths to buy G. Gay and Co Hardware’s existing hardware enterprise.
Next year the family-owned business, trading as Home Timber and Hardware, will move its Main Road operation to the Sebastopol site and plans to employ an additional 15 staff to cover a new seven-day trading period.
Owner David Gay said while the Main Road business would shift, the Gillies Street Home Hardware store would continue trading as normal.
Last year, a proposed sale to Woolworths was blocked by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, on the grounds a Woolworths-owned Masters and G. Gay and Co Hardware partnership would create an unfair advantage for other businesses.
Now, just over a year after wanting to sell, Mr Gay said the only way forward for his business was to get bigger and better.
“We’re not going to stew over something which happened in the past,” he said. “Everybody shops around, so you’ve got to keep fighting for market share ... there’s clearly plenty of competition in Ballarat.”
Mr Gay said with Bunnings, Masters and plenty of smaller businesses in the market, the need to improve was ever-present.
“You’ve got to take them on,” he said. “You don’t sit back and let these big boys run the show, you’ve got to take them on at their own game and that’s what we’re doing.”
Sales agents Colliers International said G. Gay and Co Hardware won the sale in a “hot contest between developers, retailers and hardware chains”. In announcing the sale, Colliers said Ballarat had been “centre stage in a national hardware tussle” over the past two years.
Dahlsen’s Hardware has been run by a local family for the past seven years, since it took over the business from Coltman’s Mitre 10.
Dahlsen’s will now relocate to a dedicated trade site in Delacombe.
Rather than trying to mimic larger conglomerates, Mr Gay said his business would continue to focus on the things that make Home Timber and Hardware different to Masters and Bunnings.
“Our point of difference is that we’ve got knowledgeable staff who can offer that personalised, one-on-one service,” he said.
“We do have a retail component but we’re also more of a trade-based store, mostly dealing with builders and building firms.”
It is expected the current Dahlsen’s site will be re-branded to Home Timber and Hardware when the Gay family takes over next year.