Problem-solvers

    L&T Venables have been providing hardware solutions for customers for generations. By Frank Leggett

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    While a half-century in the hardware game is an achievement to be celebrated, 50 years of business under the stewardship of the same family is an almost unbelievable accomplishment. At L&T Venables, the much-loved hardware stores in Western Australia, the story goes back even further.

    “We actually began as Venables Services back in 1912,” says Christine Venables, managing director of the company. “At that time, we were a small engineering section attached to a shop in Leederville. My father, Terry Venables, started L&T Venables in 1974 and we’ve continued to grow steadily.
    “Today we have stores in Wangara and Malaga where we solve all kinds of problems for our customers. We’re not a big corporate entity; we’re a traditional hardware store that has built our reputation on customer service.”

    The personalised service at L&T Venables really sets it apart from similar businesses. Customers who have experienced this type of one-on-one service often return again and again, building a relationship with the company.

    “One of our long-term customers is Mike Marinovich, director of Carnival Amusements,” says Duane Youngman, senior sales assistant at the Malaga branch of L&T Venables. “He runs a West Australian accredited amusement company that has been in the entertainment industry since 1958. His team provides amusement rides and games for fairgrounds, fetes and large-scale events such as the Perth Royal Show. Mike has been a customer since 1999.”

    Safety is paramount at Carnival Amusements with the business AMSAFE accredited and Worksafe registered. Extensive maintenance records, risk-management plans, current engineer reports and daily logbooks are all part of the amusement company’s operating system.
    Repair and maintenance of their various rides and machines is undertaken with brand new products that fit the required specifications. And L&T Venables is the chosen supplier.

    HAPPY CUSTOMER
    “The nature of our business means we’re constantly operating a lot of machines, rides and hardware,” says Mike Marinovich. “We always carry a back-up of spares, and a quick trip to Venables allows us to stock up and stay operating. Venables is the best source of hardware in Perth.”

    It’s the customer service at L&T Venables that has kept Marinovich coming back for more than 25 years. If he has a problem to solve, he turns to his secret weapon—Mick at the Malaga branch.

    “I’m constantly amazed by Mick’s extensive knowledge,” says Marinovich. “Whatever I need, he knows where it is, how much is in stock and immediately fills the order. If it’s out of stock, he’ll phone the other branch and have it shipped over by the next morning. If Venables doesn’t carry the item—and that’s extremely rare—they’ll recommend a place we can go. He never says we don’t have it and leaves it to us to find it. That’s customer service. And that’s why I’m sticking with Venables.”

    FINDING SOLUTIONS
    L&T Venables’ core business is centred around fasteners while the Wangara store is also a gas agent, supplying welding equipment, consumables and tools. The company stocks everything from abrasives and adhesives to paint and pipe fittings, to power tools and safety gear.
    “We’ll have customers come in with a bolt in their hand and say they need this five millimeters longer,” says Christine Venables. “Or they need the same size with a different thread. Whatever they want, our service staff will find a solution.”

    The extensive range of stock means that whatever a customer needs is usually available. If an item’s not in stock, it can be ordered immediately. On those occasions when a customer is after a more unusual item, the staff have the skills to hunt it down.

    “Oddball items can be difficult to find, but we’re more than happy to go that extra mile,” says Duane Youngman. “I love the challenge of chasing down specific items and we’ve been in the game long enough to have a few tricks up our sleeve. It’s extremely rare that we can’t source an item. Customers know that whoever they deal with at Venables will solve their problem. Clients are never passed around from section to section or person to person.”

    EXTRA MILE
    L&T Venables source and supply hardware to businesses and individuals. They offer professional advice and guidance for all manner of different projects. They stock a wide range of products from Australia and the world’s leading brands.

    “In essence, my role is to solve problems for people and help find solutions for what they’re doing,” says Christine Venables. “Our team members have decades of industry experience to advise and point our customers in the right direction. We are here to help.”

    Nothing illuminates this more than a story from Mike Marinovich.

    “A few years ago, we were doing an event and I needed a particular part urgently. Dave, the predecessor to Mick, sourced the item, had it delivered to Venables Malaga, then drove it to our warehouse and dropped it over the fence for us to pick up after midnight. We were ready to go first thing in the morning. Incredible!”.