San Souci, Australia
Dean and Peter Salakas are two brothers who now run Australia’s largest party store, The Party People. Their mom (formerly Patches the clown) started the business in 1985 and the Salakas brothers acquired the business in 2007 from their parents, taking it to a new level online and opening more stores.
1. What is the best retail advice you’ve received?
Look after your staff and they will look after you. We are a party store, so we celebrate occasions, whether it be a Christmas party or Easter eggs at Easter or even staff birthdays. While things like this can be done to ensure we offer a different and more fun environment than other retailers, we also do some little things just for fun like how we all have quirky titles and the managers get to choose their own title (example, I am the Chief Party Dude).
2. What are your goals for the upcoming year?
We are planning on opening two more stores. These stores will be in Sydney and will be a similar megastore format to our other stores. A typical party store has all the usual sections like juvenile birthday, adult birthday, seasonal, themes and decorating departments. A large part of our new stores will be candy bars and costumes.
3. What are your biggest frustrations?
Our $17.98 minimum wage here in Australia. If these are not managed we can loose money very, very quickly. We set wage budgets based on forecast sales and managers are measured against their ability to meet a certain wages/sales ratio.
4. How do you stay passionate about what you do?
It’s not hard to stay passionate when you just love what you do. My parents started this company 29 years ago and I am excited that my brother and I are expanding the family business since we took over six years ago. It’s now trading with five times more revenue than when we took over, and it was already a good business at the time.
5. If you had $10,000 to do whatever you wanted to your store/business, what renovations would you make?
I would invest in some large plasma TVs around the store to showcase our product and possibly some iPads. Customers could then shop online in our store from a larger range available at our Webstore, particularly in our costumes department, helping encourage our in-store customers to have access to online shopping.
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