'Nothing over $5': Silly Solly's to open huge Mackay store
EXCLUSIVE: THE "biggest 'Nothing Over $5' store in Australia, if not the world" is getting ready to open in Mackay.
Iconic discount chain Silly Solly's will return to the region in coming months, opening in the former Sam's Warehouse in Greenfields, which was destroyed by fire in 2012.
The "you'll never pay full price again!" catch-phrase was familiar to bargain shoppers 20 years ago, and now brand founder Solly Stanton and director Steve Watchman are defying the downward trend in discount stores to relaunch the brand.
In a sign that Mackay is hungry for a major discount warehouse, half a dozen carloads of eager customers turned up at the site searching for an early bargain yesterday as Mr Stanton and Silly Solly's director Steve Watchman erected 'opening soon' signage.
Visiting the shopfront was somewhat of a walk down memory lane for Mr Stanton, as it was the home of his last Silly Solly's Mackay store, which later became Sam's Warehouse before closing in 2014.
Mr Watchman, who made the trip down from Townsville for the occasion, said the store, which will span a massive 1700 sq m, would breathe new life into the surrounding complex.
Mr Watchman said Silly Solly's had always looked at Mackay as a stronghold for their concept and it was time to come back and "give the people what they want".
"Traditionally discount has always been strong in Mackay, Solly had a big store here and did very well, Sam's Warehouse was very popular and we think it is under serviced here," Mr Watchman said.
"It is perfect for the model that we are bringing and it has really been embraced everywhere we have done it, so we feel the time is right to bring it back and give the people what they want, at a price they can afford."
From Tim Tams for $1 to flannelette shirts for $5 - Mr Watchman assures customers will "never pay full price again".
"We will have everything you want. Some of the things will blow people away, they will be amazed. The response we have had at other shops has just been crazy. We want to bring the fun back, we want to give the people what they want, the customer is most important to us, they are number one."
The Mackay store is the latest in a rapid expansion of the brand which relaunched in Rockhampton late last year and has since opened stores in Gladstone, Yeppoon, Cairns and Ingham.
At its height, Silly Solly's consisted of 40 stores and employed 2000 staff.
New Zealand-based The Warehouse acquired Silly Solly's along with 117 Crazy Clints stores for $118 million in 2000.
The Australian venture was not successful and the stores were sold in 2005.
Mr Watchman said the Silly Solly's team would open a store in Townsville on September 13 before switching their attention to Mackay.
"It (the expansion) has really happened very quickly and is building momentum pretty quickly," he said.
"We will probably be pretty active here from next week or the week after. Iit is going to take some manpower but we will get stuck into it and get the works in motion. We'd like to be open in early October but there is a lot of work to do."
Silly Solly's expects to hire between 15-20 staff for the Mackay store.