Hardware overkill




The is the new Bunnings that is rapidly nearing completion at the Footscray site of what was once the HQ for the Forges/Dimmeys empire.

As we were driving past yesterday, Bennie asked:

“Who is going to shop there?”

Good question, I reckon.

This behemoth will join newish Bunnings outlets at Altona and Highpoint.

There are others in Sunshine, Melton, Hoppers Crossing, Werribee Caroline Springs, Taylors Lakes and Essendon.

And of course, Bunnings has competitors – there’s Mitre 10, Masters/BCF and Home Timber & Hardware outlets scattered across the west, too.

Indeed, there is one of the latter just a few hundred metres from the new Footscray Bunnings location.

As anyone who has even so much as glanced at a television in recent years will attest, all these companies spend A LOT on advertising.

Their slogans are as embedded in our collective brain as deeply as any irritating pop song.




I’ve heard it said that such edifices are what has closed down neighbourhood hardware stores.

I’m sure that’s true – there used to be one of the smaller variety in Anderson Street, Yarraville.

But it doesn’t explain the growth explosion of these mega-stores.


More like aircraft hangars.

Or aircraft carriers.

And I know the greater western suburbs are experiencing tremendous growth and a steep population increase.

But that doesn’t do it for me, either.

After all, these places are becoming so ubiquitous that they’re the hardware equivalent of 7-Eleven, Subway or Maccas.

What is going on?

Post-script: The answer to the above question – or some of the answers – are to be found in this very good piece from August last year in The Monthly.

Thanks to Amy for the link!



18 thoughts on “Hardware overkill

  1. If you’re interested, here’s a well written essay discussing what Coles and Woolies are doing to the retail environment:
    Bunnings is “brand bombing” to the point where they will put their own stores out of business, just to make sure there are absolutely no gaps in the market where a competitor could get a toehold. It’s an effective business model, but consumers lose in the long run.


    • That is incredibly depressing and only re-affirms my commitment to buy, where possible, from smaller chains or independent stores, like:

      – Sims and Bongiovanni for day-to-day groceries.

      – Total Tools on Clarendon or the hardware store on Lygon Street near Glenlyon Road in East Brunswick. (There’s a small apparently family run Home Hardware in South Melbourne that was my first choice for hardware, however Home is part of Woolworths…)

      – Fuel: Dayef (Hampstead Road and Mitchell Street Maidstone) Enhance (Bay and Raglan Sts Port Melbourne) Apco (Geelong) National Lube (Williamstown Road and Francis Street Yarraville) Liberty (All over the place) and United (everywhere)

      It’s rare that we’re in any of the major chains’ stores. I intend to keep it this way.

      (Sorry for the blatant name dropping =) )


  2. We live in west Footscray over the tracks from the new store & I said the same thing to my daughter. She replied ‘Sunshine Road is a much nicer drive than Rosamund & Ballarat Roads!


  3. I may be wrong, but was this site originally Kinnears Rope Factory, and an integral part of Footscray’s role in manufacture? Seeing the Bunnings go up has not added cheer to the drive to work. Even more weirdly, Altona Bunnings have abandonned their previous mega store to move a hop skip and a jump away…as has the Highpoint one. What happens to these abandonned sites now? What’s the logic? And I do shop at Bunnings from time to time!


  4. Way too many stores surrounding us now. A bit like Aldi really….once you had to drive, now you have choices of which one to shop at. The inner west is a big area, but not that big that we need multiples of particular stores. Why have we become a franchise ‘suburb’ rather than the old style boutique?


  5. I thought the same thing, why are they building another Bunnings here? The theory of “brand bombing” could hold some water. The jury’s still out as to whether it’s “needed”, but speaking personally it will turn a Bunnings trip from a Gordon St/Rosamond Rd drive (never nice on a weekend) into a short walk.

    I used to go to Flatmans (Home Hardware) on the corner of Barkly St & Geelong Rd but recently they changed owners (to Tait, who own other Home’s) and have also changed their product mix with an emphasis on tradies not DIY. If you want screws, fasteners, saw blades and sanding disks, you’re in luck. But the garden section now is tiny, for example.

    If you want real old-school hardware, there’s a small family-run hardware store on Barkly St, Wefo opposite the chemist. It’s like a step back in time. Has a limited range, but good if you want something simple like a spray gun for your hose or a paint brush.


  6. On top of the Highpoint Bunnings, Braybrook Masters and local ‘timber’ type shop on Geelong Rd/Barkly st this new outlet does seem to be verging on overkill – perhaps its catering for those in the Yarraville – Williamstown – Altona arc …

    That said, these types of places are underpinned by business cases, so they must think it can turn a profit (albeit, if over time). Where this goes to is that as house prices rise, more and more people are choosing to invest in renovating their place, and that creates big demand for places like Bunnings. This ‘trend’ is easy to hate, but I suspect that lots of the pople posting here are inner-west home owners, so they benefit from the uplift in property values which accompanies gentrification.

    As an aside, I suspect there will be an uptick in local traffic as a result of the new store opening, which is potentially problemtatic with respect to Williamstown Road, Gordon st and the general Buckley st area (to the east, under the rail overpass bridge). I can recall Buckely st featuring on this site as in ‘why is it such an eyesore’, and on reflection the best solution would obviously be to route all traffic underground there ala what happened with Taylors Sq/Bourke and Crown sts in Sydney, but I can’t see that happening anytime soon!


  7. Aside from hardware, Bunnings sell plants. When I moved to the West 17 years ago, there were 4 thriving nursery businesses within a few k of my place in Newport. I could walk to two of them. Once Bunnings in Altona opened, all these successful businesses were sold on. They have now all closed and those new owners have failed businesses.

    Times change. Anything living in my garden dates from pre-Bunnings era. My fault no doubt, but I did enjoy those nurseries, especially as the plants lived, and are in my garden still.

    Can’t seem to make a Bunning’s plant survive!


  8. It did apparently create 180 jobs so it can’t be all bad – especially if your one of those who just scored a new job. Might have killed some little business which is very sad but they surely didn’t provide 180 jobs. Just trying to look at the bright side.


    • Yeah, great, killing off local small business that provides permanent full time employment in exchange for Bunnings’ casual, part time ‘jobs’, does anyone audit the claims of 180 ‘new jobs’? I think you’ll find these claims highly exaggerated, try & check the figures & Bunnings will refuse on the grounds of ‘ commercial in confidence’.


  9. I like the way the original frontage has been included, a first perhaps for Bunnings. And it’s within a walk from the new enhanced station at West Footscray, so available to people without cars. I may make this `my Bunnings’ …eschewing all others! The frontage would not remain without people wanting it to. Well done City of Maribynong for the first Bunnings with history retained. On the good side…


  10. Tait Timber and Hardware is owned by Woolworths.
    Yes , they are going for the tradies market. Their staff are knowledgeable and obliging.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see Rossi boots on sale at Bunnings W. Footscray . Rossi are a great product , still made in Adelaide unlike Blundsone , who several years ago sacked their 300 Tasmanian staff and moved production offshore.


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