Masters Home Improvements, a division of the mighty Woolworths Group, have opened their first big box superstore in Adelaide next to Ikea at Adelaide Airport. The store had its grand opening on Boxing Day, and has been open from 7am to 9pm on weekdays, and 7am to 5pm on weekends since that time.
Just prior to entering the store there are a few noticeable differences to some of the competitors being a "charity board" and a misting tent. Most superstores allow community groups and charities to prepare the mandatory sausage sizzle, but at Masters transparency reigns supreme with details included on the Charity Board of current and future benefactors, and the amounts raised on behalf of charities. The misting tent, a regular item on sale in the store, was on active display, which was an excellent idea on this warm January day.
Upon entering the store I was greeted by one of the "Associates" who welcomed me and provided me with a Store Map. A map ? How big was this place ? And to help me answer the question I was offered a cup of water. Granted it was warm outside so the generosity was appreciated, but I did wonder whether I was being offered additional fluids just in case I became lost for hours !
When inside the store, it resembled most of the other hardware superstores with timber and building related products at one end, a gardening section at the other, and 51 aisles of home improvement products in between. And while there was large shelving with products in every aisle some of the noticeable differences were with the cleanliness of the polished concrete floor, the relatively uncluttered aisles and floor space, and the airconditioning !
A wander through the electrical, plumbing, tools and paint sections revealed products which were much the same as the other stores. But a walk through the flooring, kitchens, appliances and lighting sections saw a more extensive range of home improvements including rugs, carpets, vinyl, fridges, dishwashers, wall prints and chandeliers. Suddenly there was interest from all genders about being in the store !
Having spent hours in gardening sections in years gone by, I thought that the garden section at the superstore had less range than some of the larger competitors, but in saying that I was noting that the target market (around western Adelaide) was not a homeowner with a spare acre or two, and perhaps was unlikely to be a dedicated gardener who knows their product.
Circling around the superstore, the next stop was the MadCap Café for the mandatory afternoon coffee. A strange name for a café but a couple of small signs explained that the MadCap Café is a community based service that provides support to people experiencing mental illness or who have a psychiatric or other disability by providing them with valuable and meaningful employment. Notwithstanding the hard-to-distinguish disabilities, the smiles and the customer service leaves many other cafes to shame.
I had picked up a few bits and pieces on the way through the store, so off to the checkouts. With more checkouts open than most other stores, the time spent in the queue was short and the transaction completed with a smile. Overall it was a pleasant shopping experience, with a good chance that it will be an expensive experience in the future. Lucky there is a best price guarantee, whereby Masters will beat any better prices by 10% for up to 30 days post purchase day.
I enjoyed the cleanliness and openness of the store, and the number of Sales Associates wandering the store. Being honest, I found a couple of minor criticisms being that the aisle numbering in the Store Map wasn't sequential, and the number of tables and chairs around the café was a bit less than required.
But overall, a good experience, with a real sense of community and social inclusion shining through from Masters Home Improvements. Further details on this store, and future Adelaide stores, can be found on their website or on their facebook page.
I went for my first visit yesterday.
It was cool inside, that was refreshing.
the shiny floor looked bright and nice but I almost slipped over when changing direction at the isle end.
I found the constant PA announcement of "assistance in the lawnmower section required" ...:"lawnmower section" was very annoying.
I found some departments were very limited in choice like storage and rubbish bins,( I wanted to buy a new kitchen recycle bin but I couldn't find the size I required)..but other departments like lighting were great.
We walked out without the product I wanted, so I will have to visit the other box hardware store, but I did have a handful of bargains (tools haha) that I couldn't resist.
unfortunately according to the minister of finances, we then had to visit next door to Ikea, to keep the other half satisfied too.
Tip. split up in the carpark and arrange to meet back for coffee in 3 hours.