E-Store, one of the high-flying e-tailers in the dotcom boom, has opened its first bricks-and-mortar store under new owner and CEO Gerard Farley.
As previously reported in ARN, Farley has purchased the old Laptop Land retail site in Miller Street, North Sydney from its administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and has spent the last few months renovating the store to capture the look and feel of the E-Store Web site.
To coincide with the launch of the retail outlet, Farley has signed a financing deal with IT specialist RentSmart and "roadside assistance" customer support services with MyTek. He has also hired the former manager of North Sydney's Gateway store, which closed when PC vendor Gateway pulled out of the Australian market, to manage the retail store.
Since taking over the E-Store business, Farley has had to tackle several issues. He and his staff had to negotiate the many legacy customer service issues from E-Store's troubled past. The company now claims to be up to date with servicing its customers.
Secondly, Farley is seeking better relationships and alliances. As well as introducing the financing services of RentSmart and customer support services of MyTek, the company has been discussing direct relationships with several vendors. Farley has also had to convince E-Store's old suppliers -- vendors and distributors that were burnt when the business went down -- that the new management will not make the same mistakes. Already, he feels he is on much better terms with suppliers.
"I want to make the business more transparent and accountable," he said. "This store helps to expose ourselves to the marketplace. Customers get greater comfort when buying from a business that has a physical presence."
With several corporate deals in the pipeline (see sidebar), Farley is excited about E-Store's future. August saw E-Store record one of its best months, he said. "Now the customers are coming into E-Store to buy rather than just to browse."