Harvey Norman Ipswich store manager Matthew Walll and Franchisee Ben Handy. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Harvey Norman Ipswich store manager Matthew Walll and Franchisee Ben Handy. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

Big retailer's bright future

EACH year Harvey Norman stores amass sales in excess of $5 billion, making them a major player in retail.

Harvey Norman Ipswich is one of the many success stories across the country and now internationally.

The retail giant has opened up tremendous opportunities for local franchisee Ben Handy, who is now in charge of computers and communication at the Ipswich store.

When the opportunity came to take up the role, alongsie electrical franchisee, Ryan Whittingstall, he grabbed it with both hands.

"I took on the role at the start of February this year," Mr Handy said.

"I was second-in-charge at this store two years ago but I made a move to take up a franchisee opportunity at Harvey Norman in Dalby for the past 18 months."

Taking on the role meant that he could come back home - something that is important to Mr Handy.

"We don't have to buy-in as a franchisee, we earn it," he said.

"The business is looking for motivated people and it is a great concept to foster that.

"I am 27 years old so it gives me a great career opportunity."

Gerry Harvey identified computers as a growth business in 1987.

The company's own data suggests that computers and communications represent around 30% of retail sales.

Harvey Norman Ipswich has just welcomed in the new Samsung Galaxy S7.

"We had a lot of interest even before the product was launched on Friday and it is a real winner," Mr Handy said.

"The ever-changing world of technology is both a great challenge and what makes computers and communications such an exciting division to be part of."

"We undertake a lot of product training and it is important to 'play' with the products to fully understand all that they offer."

The Ipswich franchise's range covers everything from desktops, laptops through to ipads, and a range of smart phones.

"The most popular product now is the convertible laptop," Mr Handy said.

"They are so versatile and the HP Spectre is amazingly flexible and is leading the way. These are for people who are looking for a serious laptop but want the benefits that this products offers. Mobile phones are as popular as ever. Harvey Norman is an Optus dealer so can assist clients directly. I think we offer a very broad range of phones. We do have a large range of desktop computers in store. These are very popular. We have a leasing service that makes sense, particularly for business people."

Mr Handy said he was excited for Harvey Norman's future in Ipswich, especially looking forward to moving into the current Booval Bunnings Warehouse site.

"I want to grow this business and with the Booval Store coming it will continue to provide challenges and wonderful opportunities," he said.



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