About Womersley's Mitre 10

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Womersley’s  Mitre 10, started in 1946 in Frankston and now consists of 3 stores Womersleys MItre 10 Chelsea Heights, Womersley Mitre 10 Frankston & Womersley’s Mitre 10 Sorrento.

It was 1922 when Mr A. Patterson set up a timber yard in Playne Street, thereby starting a 90 year tradition of service to the community of Frankston.  The new business grew with hardware and fibrous plaster added in 1932 but the watershed year was 1946 when, in the aftermath of war, demand for building materials skyrocketed. Supplies were strictly controlled so the new owners, Jack and Barbara Womersley and Em and Aileen Oliver, bought interests in local timber mills to ensure they could maintain continuity of supply.

With the expansion of the business came the need for more space so when a hardwood yard in Railway Parade became available, an outlay of £400 gave timber operations a new home. In 1954, the joinery next door was purchased providing room for hardware sales and a new company, ‘Central Timber’ was formed.

The 50’s and early 60’s was a period of change: the Olivers retired and the Womersley’s assumed ownership of the business; the joinery was closed; the interests in the mills and the fibrous plaster works were relinquished. Railway Parade became a ‘one-stop’ timber and hardware centre. Playne Street, now with larger premises through a 1957 acquisition of land next door formerly occupied by a garage, became a dedicated hardware outlet.

Central Timber was one of the eight founder members of Mitre 10 on its inception in 1959 and from 1963 to 1965 Jack Womersley was Chairman of the organisation. Around the same time Central Timber welcomed two new Womersley family members, Fred and Geoff. Fred had qualified as an accountant a few years earlier, Geoff had gained a diploma in Building Construction and both already had several years experience in their chosen fields before returning to Frankston.

But through all these many changes, our dedicated and loyal workforce provided stability and a continuing tradition of service. All the team members who contributed deserve recognition: the strength of the business today stands as a tribute to their dedication and excellence.

In 1973, Central’s first Outdoor Centre opened on a new site in Overton Road, boosting total staff numbers to 65 permanents and 24 casuals, but by the mid-80’s it was clear that the business needed a new site on the Cranbourne side of town where most new development was taking place. The current site adjacent to the Karingal Hub Shopping Centre was purchased in late 1985 and the adjacent block acquired on a long-term lease a couple of years later.  The new store opened for business on July 9th 1990.

All Central’s Frankston’s operations were gradually consolidated on the new site. The Overton Road Outdoor Centre closed in 1989 and was replaced a few years later by the new Garden Centre in Cranbourne Road. And in 1994 the Playne Street shop, which for years had suffered from a chronic shortage of parking, was somewhat reluctantly closed, ending 48 years of trading spanning three generations.

As the millennium approached, so began the transition of management to the next generation of the Womersley family. Geoff retired in 2000 after serving the business for over 35 years; he handed over management of timber and building supplies to his son, Scott, who had joined the company 3 years earlier. Fred continues to be involved in the business but the firm’s operations are increasingly in the hands of his sons, Peter and Stuart, who came to the business in 2000 and 2003 respectively. So today, 44 years after the inception of Mitre 10, the Frankston store is unique in being the only one of the original 8 founding members that continues to serve the same area under the same ownership.

In 2004 Sorrento Timber & Hardware was purchased from Mal Noble.  The store located in the main street of Sorrento had been trading as a Danks store however was quickly converted to a Mitre 10 store.  The retail area was expanded and the dilapidated timber yard renovated, stocked and opened.

Expansion was on again when the Womersley family took-over Chelsea Heights Mitre 10 Mega store in 2007.  Initially under a management agreement with Mitre 10 Australia and subsequently purchased outright in 2009.  The Chelsea store consisted of over 6000sqm of retail, timber and nursery area and employed in excess of 60 staff.

In 2011 the Womersley sought to bring all of their stores under a common name and brand.  This was consistent with the direction of Mitre 10 Australia new owners (Metcash Ltd) and was particularly relevant to the store’s growing presence in the trade market. All stores were painted and blue and white and the store branding began Womersley’s Mitre 10. 

Today, Womersley’s Mitre 10 continues the tradition of service excellence which began way back in 1922. We are proud of our heritage and look forward to serving the thriving communities of Frankston, Chelsea Heights and Sorrento for many years to come.