Over the next 12 months, Grafton Merchanting, which currently employs almost 1,300 team members in the Republic of Ireland, will roll-out a store upgrade programme with 12 Chadwicks branches due for completion by the end of 2019.
The first branch to be upgraded is Chadwicks in the Sandyford Industrial Estate – the first of size branches that are due to be upgraded by the end of this year.
Established in 1902, Chadwicks is the leading supplier of builders’ and plumbers’ material to both trade and DIY customers in Ireland and there are currently 18 Chadwicks branches nationwide. Newly revamped branches will feature refreshed Chadwicks branding and will be designed with the customer in mind. Upgraded locations will offer a more accessible store layout, open counters where customers can touch and try products and digital signage with the latest product information and offers on display.
A new team training programme has also been put in place to keep colleagues up to date with the latest trends and product innovations in the construction sector and to ensure customers receive a first-class experience in-store.
Grafton Merchanting has also launched its Builders’ Merchant Traineeship. The QQI-accredited programme, which is run in conjunction with the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB), aims to create a pipeline of skilled entry level Trade Sales Advisors within the Chadwicks, Heiton Buckley, Davies and Panelling Centre branches.
The programme which is being piloted in Dublin, with a view to being rolled out nationwide in 2019, will see participants spend half of their learning time completing classroom-based modules covering customer service, retail sales skills, IT skills, health and safety and stock control. On the job learning will then take up the remainder of the course time with participants assigned to mentors in their chosen branch. It is anticipated that Grafton Merchanting will take on 20 trainees across their Dublin branches as part of this programme.
Commenting on the investment, Patrick Atkinson, CEO Grafton Merchanting ROI, said, “Our €500,000 investment in the Chadwicks business this year forms part of our overall commitment to providing our customers with the best quality products coupled with unrivalled knowledge and expertise in the sector. “We are investing significantly in our people and training to ensure that our customer service and product knowledge remains a key differentiator in this sector. Trade sales in the construction sector is a highly skilled profession and our training will keep our team up to date with the latest trends and innovations in the sector.”