When Peter and Gill Bond bought into the growing OZ Design Furniture franchise back in 2002, they knew they wanted to continue to offer Canberrans personable and friendly service that would keep customers coming back for more.
The couple now say that after 18 years in the trade, even as the business has grown beyond expectations, OZ Design Furniture Fyshwick still retains the same family feel it always did.
Canberra born and bred, Peter Bond always wanted to work in a self-supporting business, and throughout his years working in retail he often thought about buying into something that he could put his own mark on.
That’s when the opportunity with OZ Design Furniture popped up, and the couple has not looked back.
Peter says the great thing about owning a franchise is that you’re able to deliver the localised service that customers come to know and love, but with the product offerings of a large company. It’s the best of both worlds.
Although Gill has taken a backseat these days, their daughter, Alexandra, now works as a salesperson so the family’s legacy lives on. Likewise, many of the long-term employees have become a bit like a second family.
“We are a very small, close and tightknit group,” says Peter. “We’ve got employees who have been with the company for more than 13 years, and sometimes previous employees will drop in to say hi.”
Having a furniture retail background has served Peter well during the past 18 years through some ups and downs. These days, he knows the Canberra market’s wants and needs inside out, and he’s generally pretty good at picking the best stock for his shop floor.
“One of the lovely things we see is that we have customers who have shopped with us throughout their life cycle,” he says. “When they have young kids, you see them popping in for cheap, knockabout furniture, and then later on they are maybe able to buy some pricier pieces or they’ll be downsizing once the children have flown the nest.”
However, Peter says there’s plenty more furniture items they are unable to display in their Fyshwick store due to space restrictions that can be sent down to customers from the Sydney warehouse.
In fact, there’s about to be even more options for customers as OZ Design Furniture prepares to double the size of its Sydney warehouse.
“The current one was only built five years ago, and at the time it was expected to be very much surplus to requirements,” says Peter. “But we’ve seen such an enormous growth in the business that it’s already time to upgrade again.”
One thing Peter has noticed during the years is that it’s become more difficult to stock Australian-made furniture because many of these businesses are simply no longer operating. However, he is really proud to stock eight varieties of Australian timber.
“This is a really strong element of the business for us, and one I’m really proud of,” he says.
Even as OZ Design Furniture grows, few independently owned or franchises of the company exist, and Peter is proud to own one of the last few, even as larger companies take over with their rigid business models and one-size-fits-all offerings.
After all, OZ Design is still a family business, and Peter says he and his team work hard to be flexible, with some of their offerings able to be customised to provide even more variety for consumers.
To check out OZ Design Furniture’s range, visit its website or pop into the store at 52-54 Barrier Street in Fyshwick.