Bunnings building beside Hardware Home

Close quarters: Bunnings is building a new store directly across the road from the existing Home Hardware (blue building at rear) in Wilson St, Katoomba.
Close quarters: Bunnings is building a new store directly across the road from the existing Home Hardware (blue building at rear) in Wilson St, Katoomba.

Bunnings is building in Katoomba, close enough for its neighbour and rival, Home Hardware, to keep an eye on construction.

The new Bunnings store will be literally across the road from Home Hardware, leading to some consternation about whether the Upper Mountains market can sustain two big hardware chains at all, let alone within metres of each other.

Bunnings general manager, property, Andrew Marks, said the new store will be a “small format” model.

“We generally find that there is ample room in the market for both larger and specialty providers,” he said.

Almost everywhere we operate we have successful competitors located close by to our stores.

Andrew Marks, Bunnings

“Almost everywhere we operate we have successful competitors located close by to our stores.”

Whether “close by” means right across the road is unknown.

Mr Marks also referred to environmental concerns which had been raised about the site, part of the Leura Falls Creek catchment.

He promised that “measures have been put in place to ensure receiving waters of Leura Falls Creek are maintained at the highest standard. We will continue to work with the builder to ensure there is no environmental impact from construction works in and around the site.”

Metcash, which owns Mitre 10, bought Home Hardware and Timber from Woolworths last year. The company did not respond to the Gazette’s questions before deadline.

The new Bunnings is expected to open early next year.

Gazette readers had mixed reactions to the story on Facebook. Some welcomed the competition and the new jobs Bunnings would bring, others felt that it was inevitable that only one of the stores would survive.

A number of readers posted support for the little hardware shop on Waratah Street. Monique McCloghry-Laing wrote: “It might be a little old fashioned and smaller, but they have good basics and great camping supplies.”

Some raised environmental issues, including Kylie Watson: “I love Bunnings but I'm sad about the little ducks and their ducklings, the birds, the lizards, the butterflies, the frogs and other wildlife I hear and see frequently there. Where will they make their new home?”

A tongue-in-cheek Luke Angelinetta replied: “You can buy ornamental ones at Bunnings.”