Emma Gaunt and Tony Hartigan, owner/operators of Matamata Flooring Design were delighted to be awarded both the Excellence in Advertising and the Franchisee of the Year awards at the recent national Flooring Design awards evening recently held in Napier.
When Tony Hartigan and Emma Gaunt opened their Flooring Design franchise around eighteen months ago, it was with the intention of providing excellence in advice, sales and service. They brought with them over 30 years of combined experience and whether it was a new house, renovation, a rental or commercial, their attention to detail was exactly the same.
“Matamata is our community” says Emma. “It’s where we live and work, where we are raising our children and where we socialise with our family and friends. We strive to provide the same service we would expect, with full accountability throughout the process.
Although they attended the 2018 Flooring Design national awards night, they didn’t qualify for franchise awards as they hadn’t yet completed their first full year of trading. This year however, alongside 13 other personally owned and operated stores, they had as good a chance as any. The awards evening was held in Napier last weekend so, looking forward to relaxing and meeting other franchisees from around the country, the couple headed down for the gala event. “Obviously any new business is hopeful of recognised success” says Emma, “but regardless of award presentations, we were proud to be among our peers that have built their businesses on value, service and quality. Tony and I have thoroughly enjoyed building relationships within our business based on those qualities so, as far as we were concerned, we were in pretty good company regardless of the outcome.”
With such a large number of franchises within the group, an obvious advantage is greater buying power through the support of major flooring suppliers and manufacturers. As a result, these significant savings are passed on to the customer, which is why Tony and Emma have committed to a range of promotional platforms. They have a regular presence with local print advertising but also a strong following on Facebook, and are members of both the Matamata Business Association and the local chapter of BNI, a business to business network and referral group. “We are very aware that in a relatively close knit community like ours, word of mouth is your best form of testimonial” says Emma, “so building relationships in a variety of ways is crucial. We are only ever as good as our last customer review and we take that responsibility very seriously with everything from that first point of contact through to how our products, ranges and store is presented.”
Having little idea of the required criteria for award presentation, Tony and Emma were absolutely delighted to win the Excellence in Advertising award ahead of the other 13 stores. “Tony was thrilled of course, but I was up like a shot very excited” laughs Emma. “Comparatively, it’s difficult to see where you sit with some of the larger stores or those that have been in business for up to decades, so for us, receiving this award was incredibly exciting!”
While grinning ear to ear over this prestigious win, the couple’s success didn’t stop there. Emma especially is not often lost for words, but together they were silenced at the announcement they had also won the national Flooring Design Franchisee of the Year award. “Tony is generally not one for public speaking” says Emma, “but in this instance, he was compelled to acknowledge the presentation.” In thanking the judges and supporters, Tony offered his heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone who has contributed to its success, and encouraged them to follow their dreams. “Even after three decades in the industry, you never stop learning” he said. “All we can hope to do is remain focussed on our game, keep informed and ensure we’re always up-to-date. Our success reflects on all our stores and we’re all working towards the same end result. As long as we keep exceeding our customer’s expectations and continually strive for excellence in all areas of our business, we know we’re doing the right thing.”
Article by Caron Stewart www.sceneonline.co.nz