Mitre 10 CEO Neil Cowie, left, and Chairman Martin Dippie, right, are pictured with Cooperative Business NZ CEO Ian Macintosh.
New Zealand-owned and operated with 81 stores across the country, Mitre 10 has been a part of our home improvement culture since 1974. . .
More than 40 years later, the co-op is NZ’s largest home improvement and garden retailer and one of the country’s most trusted brands.
“That trust comes from knowing we are a locally owned co-operative that plays a valuable role in the communities in which we operate,” says Neil, who joined Mitre 10 as CEO in October 2013.
“The co-operative spirit is right at the heart of what Mitre 10 is all about and it has been absolutely central to our growth through more than four decades of business here in New Zealand.
“It is the collective strength of the co-op that has enabled us to get to where we are today,” he says.
Chairman since 2006, Martin agrees:
“The co-operative model is a huge part of how we Kiwis do business and it plays a pivotal role in the national economy.
“Many of the country’s largest organisations are co-operatives and we’re proud to be one of them.”
Martin joined the Mitre 10 group in 1994 with the purchase of stores in Dunedin and Mosgiel. In 1999 he acquired an interest in Mitre 10 Wanaka. All three stores have grown over the years with Mitre 10 MEGA Dunedin opening in 2005.
“As a store owner myself, I know at all times that there’s a solid support network to call upon. No-one’s left out on their own. For example, if an owner is building a new store, they know that they can lean on the expertise and resource of the national support office, as well as advisory panels made up of fellow owners.”
Auckland-based Neil sees many advantages to being a co-op.
“For us, it’s the best of both worlds. Our 81 store teams are able to have the pulling power of a national organisation and can draw upon the help of our national support centre, as well as other owners around the country. It’s about strength in numbers.
“At the same time, stores also have the flexibility to act independently and tailor their store for the local community. Stuart Jones, the owner of the New Plymouth Mitre 10 MEGA store, described it well when he said that ‘we all paddle the same way and fight the same foe but we can also act independently in our own local markets to meet our own individual customer demand’,” says Neil.
Martin: “The co-op model works well at Mitre 10 because we have a diverse range of people with lots of great skills and we’re all immensely passionate about seeing our businesses succeed.
“We’re all about collaborating and sharing knowledge to get the best possible outcomes. We have an ‘all for one, one for all’ mentality. That is what has guided us so far and we’ll keep sticking to it in the years to come.”
Mitre 10 became a CBNZ member last year. Martin Dippie says it’s better to be a member:
“It’s fantastic to be able to be surrounded by like-minded Kiwi organisations that are similar in their business model. Being a member of CBNZ means we can share knowledge and learn from each other so that, as Kiwi co-ops, we can stretch ourselves and play a part in growing the national economy”.