2013 Business of the Year – Electrical Discounters

For the second time in its 35 year history, Electrical Discounters has won the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Outstanding Business of the Year Award.

At the annual chamber dinner on Friday night the business was presented with the award.

However it was also presented with a second win, the Whyalla Business Icon Organisation, hall of fame, award.

The inaugural inductee into the hall, company director Thomas Antonio was ecstatic about the win.

“We definitely didn’t expect to win one award, let alone two,” he said.

“It was an amazing feeling and a very humbling experience.”

Mr Antonio said it was gratifying to have been recognised as one of the best business in the city twice in 12 years.

Chamber president Allan Kane said Electrical Discounters was a deserving winner of both awards.

They’re a prominent business, whoever you speak to they say it’s a supporting business and gives back to the community,” Mr Kane said.

“They provide a fantastic service not just to Whyalla but to regional South Australia through their other stores.

“The effort they go through for promotion and marketing really does set a standard.”

However what makes both of these wins special is Electrical Discounters has survived in an industry where more than 34 retailers have closed down in Whyalla and the surrounding area.

When asked how the store has survived Mr Antonio said the answer could be likened to baking a cake.

He said there were many ingredients and the better the ingredients and the more time put into preparation the better the end result.

“There are many ingredients, customer service, respectability, integrity, product range and of course the best deals and being part of the largest buying group in Australia Narta which gives us the best buying power,” Mr Antonio said.

Electrical Discounters has always prided itself on its customer service, product range and matching any genuine deals that are offered by any of its competitor’s in South Australia across all of its stores.

“Our employees are incredible, they understand the products they’re selling and if a customer comes in with a problem we take that problem away from them, because it’s not their problem it’s ours,” Mr Antonio said.

Mr Antonio said staff in the company loved their jobs, with about 90 percent of staff being long term which gives any business great stability.

The store also gives back to the community that has given it so much.

Electrical Discounters regularly fund-raises for local causes and the company often supports sporting clubs and charitable organisations.

Electrical Discounters started out as an antenna installing business, then after VHS tapes were introduced the store started to stock movies which it rented out.

“We just grew from there into what we are now,” Mr Antonio said.

“So we started out in Whyalla then opened a store in Port Augusta, then Pirie then Lincoln.

“When we opened the store we had to lease the carpets and the furniture because it was so tough for businesses to get money back then.”

Electrical Discounters won the Outstanding Business of the Year Award in October 2001 and has won a number of business of the month awards.

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