Hobbies Australia has relocated to a larger warehouse thanks to the surge in demand for hobby products during the pandemic, MD Colin Scott has told Toy & Hobby Retailer.
Following the trend of the industry over the past few months, Hobbies Australia has seen sales surge to Christmas-like proportions, sparking the need for a larger warehouse Scott said.
"Going back a few months ago we had two small warehouses.
"One warehouse concentrated on radio control models and the other one concentrated on model kits and paints.
"Obviously you've got to have a manager for each and you have to staff each and we thought, 'well let's go for a bigger warehouse, put them under one roof and allow room for growth.
"And because of the surge in hobby products, model kits, paints and accessories we've just gone off the charts as far as importing and selling," he said.
Scott adds that due to the increased demand and interest the business also expanded its offering of brands, now bringing in approximately 10 new brands to Australia.
"We thought, 'well this [heightened demand] may be here for a while,' so we looked around for additional brands.
"We contacted people and they said, 'let's go,' and so we said, 'we need a bigger warehouse!'
"So now we have one with room to grow as well as having a good footprint.
"We also have the height - we have an eight metre height - so we've planned for a new racking system that will enable us to have a high mezzanine as well, so we're maximising the floor space," he said.
Scott added that bringing in smaller boutique hobby brands results in a win-win for the industry.
"A lot of these boutique brands in model kits weren’t available to regular retailers unless they tried to deal directly with them.
"That was almost counter-productive because it was cash upfront, it was a long wait for the stock and you had to buy carton quantities.
"So a lot of smaller retailers didn't want to do that so we thought, 'if we can get them in in the wholesale game and give retailers access, everybody wins and the end user also wins,'" he said.
Overall, Scott said the business is thrilled that consumers have discovered or rediscovered the joy of modelling during this time.
"We've got a five plus five lease on this new warehouse so that's a statement in itself.
"We as a company have shown growth every year and this year is exceptional and we can't see it stopping anytime soon.
"And what it's doing is it's bringing more people into the hobby.
"More people are saying, 'what can we do to amuse ourselves at home?' and they're rediscovering modelling.
"That's where I see the future, is that it's good growth," he said.