Despite the pandemic, trade has remained strong at South Australia’s Howards Storage World. Owner Dave Strutton said in-store shopping remains popular and sales were up 30 percent for the financial year to date.

“Like many others, we suffered a dip in sales in March last year when the first restrictions started, but by mid-April customers returned in droves as homeowners unable to travel embarked on home improvement projects,” Strutton said.

“Sales from our national online store skyrocketed during this time from purchases made across Australia, but here in SA it was pretty clear that shoppers still wanted to come in and buy from us direct rather than wait for weeks for their goods to be delivered.”

Buoyed by increased sales, he decided to undertake a major refit.

“It might sound crazy to some people that we decided to upgrade in the middle of a pandemic and during one of the most challenging years in retail, but strong sales and few COVID cases in SA convinced us that the timing was right,” he added.

The upgrade was completed by upcycling materials obtained from former Howards stores and with the help of local trades. Strutton said the overwhelming positive feedback from customers and the increased foot traffic to the store had made it worthwhile.

“Personally, I’m proud that we were able to continue trading and keep our 16 staff employed and to contribute to the local economy.”