WHEN most people think of Harvey Norman, they think of a huge, national company and Gerry Harvey’s smiling face.
But in Gympie, the furniture and bedding side of Harvey Norman was purchased on December 1 last year by a Gympie resident.
Michael Hines saw the opportunity to shorten his commute and live and work in the community he loves, doing a job he adores and he took it.
Mr Hines started working for Harvey Norman in the central coast New South Wales township of Bowral.
He started in the warehouse of the Bowral store around a decade ago.
For six years he learned the ins and outs of the trade before moving to the Noosa store to run the franchise in furniture and bedding there.
He and his wife and faithful family dog moved to Gympie and for four long years, he commuted to the Noosa store.
But Gympie had captured his heart.
“We’d been living here and the people here are nice. Here you can walk down the street and talk to people,” he said.
So when he got the chance at the start of last month, he grabbed the franchise in Gympie with both hands.
The furniture and bedding side is something he partically likes and the department comprises lounge, dining and bedroom furniture, outdoor settings and barbecues, home decor items such as lamps, wall art and accessories and soft furnishings such as cushions, pillows and manchester.
“I prefer the furniture and bedding, more so than the electrical,” he said.
He has plans to “freshen” the store up on his side of the partition and as part of the new ownership has prices on bedding and furniture marked down.
Between the mark downs and the half yearly sale (on until January 31), the department is being kept extremely busy.
Mr Hines is also keen to have the franchise engage more with the general community.
“I want to have the store be more involved with the community. Doing more – whatever we can,” Mr Hines said.