The 24th August 2016 – 5 years to the exact date of Braybrooks opening (Masters first store) – Woolworths announced that it was closing down and selling the assets of the Masters business.
It was devastating to realise that no one recognised the potential of this business or had the passion to take it on. For 6 and a half years I, and a few thousand employees, have been sweating, stressing, bleeding and crying over creating and operating one of the best businesses to open in this country. We may not have been able to turn a profit, and hindsight is a wonderful thing to enable us and our critics to see where things could have been done better, but this business was widely appreciated by consumers.
Not only did Masters customers appreciate the warm, engaging service, but our foray into the market forced the Big Green Box to improve the service offered by their own people. Hardware customers everywhere benefited. I can only hope that Metcash’s procurement of the HTH Company will serve to maintain these higher standards.
I have been touched by messages left on my Facebook announcement. Messages that make me realise that business savvy people around Australia, understand the passion, effort and quality of the Masters team. The lack of a buyer who could see the potential of the business, made me think that no one understood or appreciated what we had been trying to achieve. These comments let me know that there were people out there who did see, did appreciate, and were going to mourn our passing with us.
I want to personally thank those who have supported me on my journey with Masters – my family, my friends and my work colleagues. It has been at turns, a stressful, a fun, a wild and a scary ride. It has also been an immense privilege to be part of a start-up company of this magnitude. I have been on steep learning curves, some that I took with style, others that I crashed and burned on.
Through it all, the culture of this company has meant that Masters employees have been supportive of each other. This has enabled us to handle with grace the devastating announcement back on the 18th January (2016), that Woolworths no longer had the stomach to continue pushing into the Home Improvement market (at least 4 years shy of our potential break even date). The Store Environment Team, of which I have been a part for over 6 years, was the best team to have landed in this situation with. The support that each member has given to their fellow, will remain in my memories as legendary. I may never meet this culture and atmosphere ever again, but I will cherish the sweetness of friendships with work colleagues.
It is early days yet, but regardless of what the future holds for each of us, or wherever we end up, we are forever bonded through fires of adversity.