AN INDOOROOPILLY electrical retailer is bucking the industry’s downward trend with revenue growth built on understanding and helping its customers.

Retravision Indooroopilly may have operated for less than two decades, but word of the franchise’s giving nature is spreading across southeast Queensland.

David Handley (pictured), who jointly owns the store with Aaron Colson and Mel Spiteri, has no reservations about lending one of his new refrigerators to customers in dire straits.

“If someone is stuck and needs help after his or her fridge has broken down while under warranty, we will loan a new machine out to them for emergency use,” he says.

“I don’t do it all the time, but would rather help them out than leave them in the lurch. That is how I was brought up.”

It’s been a difficult few weeks for some local Retravision stores. They have had to battle some negative publicity after Retravision Southern Limited, a buying and marketing licensor for 104 privately-owned Retravision stores in Victoria, southern New South Wales and Tasmania, went into voluntary receivership.

The Queensland stores are not connected in any way to Retravision Southern Limited.

Business is certainly growing for Retravision Indooroopilly. The store employs 14 staff and turned over $14 million in the 2011 financial year.

It attracts customers from as far as Ipswich and the Gold and Sunshine coasts. Much of the business is from repeat customers.

“We concentrate on customer service, giving the right price and advice. They are old-fashioned values,” says Handley, who predicts revenue will increase by 3 per cent in FY12.

“Customers get approached, talked to and given the right advice. They never stand around in our store without being spoken with.”

Kitchen appliances and washing machines are the store’s highest selling products.

“Many of our customers are building houses, renovating and replacing older appliances. To complement this, we hold cooking classes and demonstrations once or twice a week with chefs and do sit-down meals with customers,” says Handley.

“Most of our customers are married couples, but there are a lot more men cooking these days because times have changed and there are quite a few male celebrity chefs.”

The store’s weekend coffee demonstrations have not only assisted in promoting new products, but also in educating customers.

“A lot of customers want to touch what they are buying. If there are new products coming out, we do lots of training and product knowledge information sessions with the manufacturers,” says Handley.

“They go through the product training with a representative giving an overview of new products, such as deep fryers that cook using hot-air technology. We also do vacuum cleaner demonstrations.”

He plans to keep diversifying the store’s product range while changing displays and renovating.

“We recently finished a new sink and tap display and are now doing an outdoor cooking display for barbecues, alfresco and outdoor entertainment areas,” he says.

“We want to focus on high-end goods as customers happily pay more for quality products.

“We do not keep a lot of the cheap and nasty brands. I do not want to sell them as they often break down. If someone buys rubbish they will not come back again.”

However, Handley concedes online competition has forced the store to reduce profit margins and increase sales volume.

“The online presence is there and we not only match the price, but offer our ‘backup’ service and product information – otherwise they would not buy it off us,” he says.

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