When it comes to local floor covering choices, Tamworth retail manager Wayne Garnett is really on a roll.
Mr Garnett’s expertise in retail service with the Tamworth Choices flooring store has seen him recognised at a state level.
Mr Garnett is the NSW/ACT storeperson of the year this year, judged on his outstanding retail service and store management skills from staff at some 40 different shops across the state and territory in the Choices Flooring industry group.
And the recognition comes off the back of Choices’ win on Friday night at the Tamworth Business Chamber’s Quality Business Awards.
The flooring chain boasts 140 individual stores across Australia and Wayne’s win at the state level will now take him to the national finals to be announced in Melbourne later this month at the annual corporate conference.
Wayne has been the front-of-house and backroom organiser at the Longyard store for over 17 years now; the lynchpin of the retail management but also in his own words, a virtual dogsbody in the daily grind of running a flooring business that caters for customers across a huge area of northern NSW.
“I’ve done everything in that time, not just in sales and customer service, but also in measuring, in cutting and in scheduling layers to put down flooring,” Mr Garnett said.
I’ve done everything in that time, not just in sales and customer service, but also in measuring, in cutting and in scheduling layers to put down flooring.Wayne Garnett
His skills go way beyond just selling a product to domestic, commercial and industrial clients-he’s also an interior design expert in colour, trends and contemporary innovation and how that marries with individual demands.
“Most people don’t know what they want; the majority are looking for advice. That’s part of the sales role, to get the client in a position to make an informed decision of what’s best for them. It’s not a matter of pre-judging,” he says.
“It’s a question of the area they’re considering and the elements of their lifestyle and living, like how many people are using that space and how they use it and how often, things like pets and kids and helping point them in the right direction to make the right decision.”
“It’s about treating people how you like to be treated as a client or customer, guiding them instead of pushing them, and hopefully letting them make a decision on their own.
“We want happy customers; that’s the ultimate aim.”
Tamworth Choices has been owned and operated by partners Joanne and David Russell and Shane Chillingworth for over 30 years and the August national conference will acknowledge the Tamworth store this year for leading business development and annual sales growth in NSW, alongside Mr Garnett’s individual contribution.
Co-owner Joanne Russell says Mr Garnett is the store’s greatest asset – and has praised his loyalty to their business.
“Wayne treats the store like his own; he’s the heart of our business and customers like him because of his attention to detail. It is exceptional and even though it sounds like a cliché, he really does treat every customer like they’re the only one in the store. That’s the measure of his professionalism and personal philosophy,” Mrs Russell said.
Wayne treats the store like his own; he’s the heart of our business and customers like him because of his attention to detail. It is exceptional and even though it sounds like a cliché, he really does treat every customer like they’re the only one in the store.Co-owner Joanne Russell
That intuitive care for the client is crucial when it comes to building or renovating.
“Anyone who’s been through that knows just what a stressful l period it is,” Mr Garnett said.
“They’ve been through the stages of dealing with trades and unfortunately we’re the last in the line of that process so for many people they’re at the point where they’ve had enough, so you have to be conscious and considerate of all of that.”