Bowens Cheltenham
Impression of the new store at Bowens Cheltenham. Image supplied.
  • Six new stores will be built, along with several refurbishments
  • Dwelling approvals are up by 91% in Victoria according to the ABS
  • Sites are near key growth corridors

A Victorian market leader in quality timber and building supplies has announced a significant investment into opening new stores and refurbishments over the next 12 months to support builders as demand remains high for new builds and renovations in the state.

Over $50 million will be spent by fourth-generation, 128-year-old family-owned supplier Bowens in building six new stores and refurbishing three new stores across its existing 16 store network.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), dwelling approvals are up by 91% in the state as of February in comparison to previous months, highlighting more demand for building materials such as timber.

Work has begun on two new sites – one in Warragul and the other in Cheltenham. Warragul is located in a key growth corridor with the combined populations of neighbouring Warragul and Drouin to increase from 54,000 to 100,000 by 2035.

The Chelntenham site will support demand for materials near the Bayside Community, which has building approvals valued at $654 million.

Stakeholder engagement

When discussing the expansion, Andy Bowen, Director and Chief Investment Officer of Bowens, said the investment was more than just expanding the company’s footprint – it was about establishing relationships with builders and the wider community.

“As a market leader in the building supplies industry, we are always looking to expand so more builders can take advantage of our products, and we are also committed to creating a local economic impact bringing new jobs and investment back into the communities we serve,” Mr Bowen said.

“Over the next 12 months we are planning to add 80-100 jobs across Victoria and ensure more builders, both big and small, have the supplies they need to stay in business and provide quality work.

“While we are investing a significant amount in growing communities we are also refurbishing a number of our long standing stores in Hastings, Taylors Lakes, Epping and Geelong to make sure that we are keeping up a standard of business that our builders desire across our Victorian network.

“Importantly, these stores will remain open during construction, allowing our customers to get the supplies they need without causing disruption to their daily lives.”

The company has welcomed the recent announcement of the $2.8 billion towards apprentices and boosting timber supply nationally made by the federal government.

However, Bowens added more longer-term solutions are required to protect builders over the coming years.

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