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Meet Michelle and Teresa: Two inspiring examples of where your career can go in hardware retail

A career in the hardware retail is one that is always blooming with opportunities. From development and growth to the satisfaction of supporting local tradies and the family DIY projects – this industry offers up an environment that keeps teams engaged for the long haul. But you don’t have to take our word for it. We sat down with two of Mitre 10’s veterans from Tasmania to discuss the secret sauce that has kept them inspired.

Meet Michelle Russell, Store Support Officer from Mite 10 Launceston, and Teresa Young, our Store Manager at Mitre 10 Smithton.

The Journey So Far

Michelle launched her career in hardware nearly 20 years ago. Having started serving customers at the tills, she has ventured her way through countless areas of the store, and many consider her to a ‘jack of all trades’ today.

“After deciding my university degree wasn’t for me, I was looking for a full-time role that I could really sink my teeth into,” shares Michelle, “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to try my hand in many different roles across hardware retail over my years. I moved out onto the floor and looked after departments such as houseware and paint before moving into a position as retail manager.”

“The shape of the organisation was undergoing some major changes 9 years ago. By the time I became Site Manager, the stores in Launceston were going through an amalgamation. I had the opportunity to travel across Tassie supporting various locations and, excitingly, was able to spend a lot of time in Melbourne during the roll out of a new computer system where I became the subject matter expert for all things system training”, said Michelle.

Today, as Store Support Officer, Michelle works in a permanent part time role where she is able to balance her love for the supporting the doers in the Mitre 10 store with her family life as a mum of 2 kids.

Fellow long-timer, Teresa, has had an equally diverse career at Mitre 10. It all started over 30 years ago when she found out that company she was working in as an administration coordinator was going to disappear, leaving her out of the job. “At that time I was young, and I knew ad hoc work wasn’t going to suit my aspirations. I needed a job that offered more security and stability to help me set up my career,” said Teresa.

“Stepping into the hardware industry back in 1992, I never would have guessed I would spend my whole career here”, shared Teresa. A lot has changed since Teresa’s early days in-store. Back then, her responsibilities involved managing orders that customers brought in on a small notepad, writing out invoices in a book, and manually calculating hours and tax for payroll that was delivered in cash.

Today looks a lot more modern and sophisticated for Teresa, “a daily routine for me includes completing any compliance checks to make sure we’re operating safely and effectively, updating prices lists, adding to the product catalogue, and scheduling our team members on the weekly roster.”

The Secret Sauce

Speaking to both Michelle and Teresa, it’s clear there is something in common that underpins why they, and others in their stores, love and stay at Mitre 10 – and that’s the people.

"When I think about what drives me to do what I do, it’s the tight knit community we have here. Being part of Metcash means we have all the support of a big organisation, but here on the ground it feels like the small, family-owned business we are, and everyone really supports one another."

Michelle RussellStore Support Officer from Mite 10 Launceston

"My store has always felt like a big family. But it’s not just the team, it’s also our customers that stick with for all these years,” she explains. “We all have fantastic relationships with all of our tradies. They visit the store so frequently that I’ve built a genuine friendship and, quietly, even look forward to the muddy work boots trudging through our beautifully mopped aisles."

Teresa YoungStore Manager

Inspiring a new generation of Mitre 10 team members

For both of our veterans, one of the most fulfilling parts of life at Mitre 10 is being able to coach and mentor new team members as they start their career in hardware retail.

For Teresa, it’s all about imparting wisdom about her passions that help the team connect with the customers and provide them with so much more value that the expected retail experience. “I have a huge passion for renovating and hardware,” says Teresa, “everyday I’m passing on titbits of knowledge to our retail team. We’ve created a real community where everyone is pumped up about our range and what’s possible. Team members are empowered to tell stories and inspire our customers when they’re out on the floor hearing all about the projects they’ve been cooking up.”

“Back when we rolled out the new computer system, I really enjoyed being able to be out of the floor with our team supporting them through the change,” explains Michelle, “during change not everything always goes right, and I’m really proud of the role I got to play in ironing out the adoption and seeing the stores flourish”. This is something Michelle builds on in her role today, “we’re all investing a lot of effort into improving the experience we deliver customers, and I love being able to play a key role in helping our team implement the changes that make our store an incredible place to work and shop”.

Every career at Mitre 10 looks different, a fact that Michelle and Teresa embody to a tee. There sure is something for everyone, from the reno-rookies to the most experienced trade experts!

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