A Harvey Norman pop-up store will be opening in Tumut on Wynyard Street in April, according to franchisee Grant Knight.
Mr Knight, who operates a Harvey Norman store in Fyshwick, said that the store came about after Natalie Randall, President of the Tumut Regional Chamber of Commerce, reached out to the company.
“She reached out to Harvey Norman at a senior level to say, ‘look, we don’t have anything in town and the town would like to have an electrical store rather than travel to Wagga, [as well as] people from Batlow and Talbingo’,” Mr Knight said.
“Harvey Norman said, ‘no problems, we will do that.’
“So we’re opening up this one to see if the demand is there, [and if it is] we’ll continue on.”
The pop-up store will begin as a temporary establishment but has the potential to become a permanent fixture in Tumut’s main street if all goes well.
“It’s a trial for us. That’s generally what we do in the smaller country towns, we put a store there as a trial and see if it becomes successful.
“That’s our plan, is for it to be successful and to keep it open.”
The pop-up store will be selling computers and electricals, no bedding or furniture like other Harvey Norman stores.
“The one in Tumut will be computers and electrical, we’re not running furniture or bedding,” Mr Knight said.
“It’s pretty well serviced for furniture and bedding shops in town, and the request was for an electrical computer store.”
Not only will the store fill a significant gap in the market and boost local retail, it has provided employment to local residents, as well.
“We’re just in the process of signing up six or seven locals and [we’ll] get them on board and get them trained up so as soon as we open,” Mr Knight said.
“Hopefully everybody in town knows them because most of them have lived in Tumut for many many years.”
Mr Knight is not yet feeling any severe affects from the COVID-19 pandemic on his businesses. The “uncertainty” has been his biggest concern, as well as slight issues with the supply chain.
“At the moment though we’re seeing [coronavirus] impact stock,” he said.
“Just getting supply from suppliers is becoming difficult because factories are closed down in other parts of the world.
“We’re doing same as everyone else, we’re just turning up to work and doing our best and waiting to see what happens.”
Despite this, the pandemic has not yet affected Mr Knight’s ability to go ahead with the Tumut pop-up store, with internal renovations and set-up beginning on Tuesday earlier this week.
“Hopefully in about 2 or 3 weeks, depending on how we go with this coronavirus and getting stock, we’ll have a shop up and running in Tumut [with] every intention of making it a success,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to it. We hope to open with a bang and do the right thing by everyone in town.”