Tile Today spoke to Beaumont Tiles franchisee, Neil Gilroy, who owns and operates six stores located in Victoria.

Neil Gilroy is dedicated to the tile industry. Even a brief experience working outside of tiles led him straight back to the industry. Gilroy’s stores are currently based in the outlying suburbs of Ferntree Gully, Dandenong, Frankston, Mentone, Mornington and Narre Warren. They cater for first time DIYers through to professional tradespeople.

Here, he responds to questions about his retail stores and how bathroom products have boosted tile sales.

1. Please describe your target market in your area or region.

Local builders and tilers are our main trade customer across the stores. We, like the wider Beaumont network, really enjoy supporting these businesses by providing them with quality products and great service.

From a consumer perspective, our customers are people who have done their research and are looking for quality and expertise. As opposed to low-quality “bargains” that may well ruin their dream renovations.

2. What is the percentage split between professional end-users (tradies, builders etc.) and DIY consumers?

It varies slightly from store-to-store but our trade versus consumer split is around 55/45.

3. How has trading been for the last quarter period?

This last quarter has been really strong with a significant uptick compared to the previous quarter. Though for me, more importantly this growth has remained steady moving into the next quarter period which suggests that the industry is in a reasonably healthy state.

4. What is your point of difference from other tile retailers and how has it helped?

Looking internally, we really get a big kick out of supporting our local builders and tradies. Even on a quiet day, we have over 30 people walking into our stores, and our team always strives to go above and beyond to make sure that everyone gets what they’re after.

From an external perspective, Beaumont Tiles as a brand is recognised as being a leader in delivering the best quality products and offering the best range reflecting local and global trends.

We also stand out when it comes to customer service and product knowledge, with our logistics being a great strength. I believe we have the best warehouses, marketing team, admin and execs in the industry. All our head office staff are always accessible. It’s great having that sort of quality at the top and the ability access to it whenever you need.

5. How long have you been a member of the retail group?

The tiling industry is in my blood. I started working in Beaumont’s Clearance Warehouse in 1994. Three years later, Bob Beaumont asked me to open the Oakleigh showroom, and how could I say no? In 2003, I was proud to take over the existing company showroom at Mentone, changing it to my first franchise. And as they say, the rest is history.

This year will mark my 23rd year with Beaumont Tiles, 16th as a franchisee and seven years prior to that in corporate (head office). I jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the brand and have loved growing with the business.

6. What was your reason for joining it in the first place?
I was around 22, and just back from overseas when I started working for Beaumont Tiles in Adelaide. I soon found a genuine passion for the industry. There was a small hiatus for a few years where I worked in the roofing industry, and even the guys that I worked with during that time said that I needed to go back to Beaumonts. So I did.

7. How does your membership continue to help you in your business today?

The model we are given from Beaumont works!

It really is a complete package. I like the security associated with being part of a large trusted brand, the processes, the advertising and guidance provided by head office. I believe that it is a true business collaboration and it makes our job of selling the best products to the market much easier.

8. What in-store promotions have worked well for you?

January and June are often the months where we’ve found our in-store promotions have worked well for us. The promotion of Beaumont’s bathroom ware range, via a catalogue promotion has also been a big hit across all our stores.

9. Do you provide training for your store staff? Please provide details.

Training is certainly very important to us and Beaumonts as a brand. It’s a mixture of company and store-led development, that always has the aim to increase our knowledge on products, new technologies and the latest style and trends. And on a franchisee level, a lot of the store owners also share and learn from each other. It’s a very collaborative group to be a part of.

10. What are your strongest departments or core ranges?

It varies from store to store but, I would say, that large format or slab tiles, timber look tiles, subway tiles and Terrazzo have been popular. Interestingly, in one of our stores, European porcelain tiles are one of the strongest ranges. Our bathroom ware is also quite popular. I think this is because when our customers purchase tiles, they also consider how they would complement their bathrooms.

11. Do you specialise in any niche categories?

Beaumonts caters for all individual styles and as a result, it provides customers with a wide range of tiles – both in terms of style and budgets – and bathroom ware. I think our niche is that we give our customers the best experience across the board, then help them select products that suit their particular needs. In addition, we are a true one-stop-shop for tiles and bathroom ware, making it super easy to design an amazing bathroom.

Pictured: This Beaumont Tiles store is located at Unit 11/1845 Ferntree Gully Road, Ferntree Gully (VIC)