A Spartan’s simple approach to successful retailing
From a humble beginning selling electrical goods door to door, Peter Tsoutouras has grown Spartan Electrical into Adelaide’s best retailer of kitchen, laundry and home entertainment appliances.
From inception up until the setting up process, how did you start your business?
I migrated to Melbourne, Australia, as an 18-year-old from Sparta, Greece in the mid 1950’s.
I came to work in Adelaide after moving from Melbourne and started selling electrical appliances door to door on a commission basis.
I saw an opportunity to start on my own and in the late 1960’s Spartan Electrical & Furniture Sales was born. it was started from a small 4 x 4 office in Wright Street, Adelaide with just a desk, telephone and filing cabinet.
I had less than $700 in my pocket and an old army utility set, and I continued to sell door to door.
As time went on I opened a showroom on Payneham Road, Payneham and it quickly grew, as did my family.
The showroom has been expanded and moved twice since then to its present location on Lower North East Road, Campbelltown.
I am proud to say a it’s a real family business.
Did your Greek Australian background help you or impede you during your early days?
It certainly did not impede me. Quite to the contrary.
Tsoutouras is a long name and, for some, hard to pronounce.
I believe that my youthful enthusiasm, my accent and my unusual name was a talking point that prompted people of all cultures and nationalities to stop and listen.
In a lot of cases this got people to look at the product I was selling and want what I had to offer.
What would you say stands out as the comparative advantage of your business over the competition?
Professionalism, attentiveness, listening to the customer and their needs and honestly guiding them to an appliance that would best suit them.
These qualities have earned us trust and respect; qualities that are earned, not bought.
When it comes to customer service we strive to honour and fulfil our customers reasonable requests.
By approaching business in this way we enjoy strong customer loyalty.
Spartan Electrical is now seeing fourth generation customers shop with us.
This means both our customers and our company are able to be part of a memorable retail experience.
How is business currently?
Exceptionally good. We forsee further growth and expansion in the next 12 months and beyond, despite the declarations of doom and gloom around us.
In the last 12 months we have enjoyed significant growth.
As a family business we are continuing to look to the future with optimism, with many new ideas and exciting products to be presented to our customers, which we believe will in turn, increase sales and business overall.
What is your vision for the future of your business?
Spartan Electrical will continue to grow, expand and evolve in the future and I want to continue to work together with my family who are all now involved in the day to day running of the business.
Expansion plans are on the drawing board, to reach an even wider demographic base of customers without losing sight of our humble beginnings.
Do you have any tips for young entrepreneurs?
You must have discipline, drive and dedication! Work hard, disregard the expression “its too hard for our young ones to start a successful venture today”.
It’s no less harder today than it was for us. Your approach to success may have to be a little different - “it is just as hard” or as “easy” as you want it to be.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes but learn from them when you do.
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