Gordon Macdonald Electrical – a story almost 65 years in the making

Gordon Macdonald Electrical – a story almost 65 years in the making

Gordon Macdonald Electrical has been in operation since 1960. It’s come a long way since – but the family ethos and commitment to contractors remains unparalleled.

In this Article:
Gordon Macdonald was founded in 1960
It remains a family-run business
Offering contractors exceptional service has been key
A lighting store added a new string to the Gordon Macs bow

Gordon Macdonald Electrical has been a familiar name on the south coast of NSW for almost 65 years. The eponymous business was launched by the grandfather of current Managing Director Scott van Eck, and the third-generation family-run business has firmly established itself as an electrical wholesaler that truly understands the value of doing business beyond the transactional.

“My grandfather was a merchant seaman, and post-war was looking to settle down, establish a base and invest in what was an area with growing industries – namely steel and coal,” says Scott, who, along with his sister, Robyn Dan, runs the day-to-day of the 21st-century Gordon Macs.

For the first three decades of its life, Gordon Macdonald Electrical was a one-location business. Operating from Wollongong, its business was industry-based, primarily serving BHP – now BlueScope – and grew by creating a deeper and more thorough offering.

Expanding Gordon Macdonald in southern NSW

In the 1990s, however, strategic and considered geographical expansion began, and today the business has four locations, in which more than 45 people work. In addition to the Wollongong HQ, Gordon Macdonald has stores in Bowral, South Nowra and Oak Flats.

“Our business is built on our industrial customers, so those medium to heavy industry, maintenance services – the type of businesses with time-critical needs.

“They value businesses that have stock, people who understand their needs and a wholesaler that can respond accordingly – and from day one that’s been at the heart of our business.”

Supplementing that industrial core is medium voltage work, as well as a strong, consistent residential base of small and medium electrical contractors, which is supported by the business’s lighting showroom.

“We launched a lighting store in 2021, after we acquired a company called Cosmo Lighting. It works really well, because contractors can send their customers in, and they know our business and our products, so they know they can trust whatever’s in there – and the contractors have the confidence of knowing they’ll get the support from an installation and warranty perspective, too.

“It’s been really well-received, and it ultimately helps to deepen that relationship between Gordon Macs, our contractors and their customers, too.”

Family-approach at its heart

As a business, Gordon Macdonald has a very well-established approach to doing business, and an ethos that is evident in every interaction.

A set of values was established back in 2019 that is now engrained across the whole company.

“Our values really emphasise the proposition that we’re a business partner. We’re not transactional – the value we deliver goes far beyond that. We don’t pretend to know everything, but we’ll always find the right solution with quality suppliers.

Communication is key with staff, customers and suppliers. Our business depends on the success of your business, so establishing and maintaining really strong relationships is hugely important. We have a passion for teamwork and personal service.

“We’re all accountable for our results too, and we keep that family spirit alive right across the business.”

The importance of walking the walk

That’s helped by Scott and Robyn working in each store at least one day per month (“It’s incredibly important we do that – you’ve got to walk the walk,” he says) as well as that ongoing commitment to supporting the local communities in which Gordon Macdonald has stores.

“We get involved in everything, from donations to surf lifesaving clubs to sponsoring local sports teams – we get involved in things through our staff or through a contractor, and it’s always stuff that gives back to the local community. It’s those small things that make a big difference, and we’re always looking to pay it forward, so to speak.”

And that ethos comes full circle when considering the position of Gordon Macs in the local community.

“The majority of small contractors are family businesses, and they know every dollar counts and keeping money in the local community is important,” says Scott.

“They also know that, by shopping with an electrical wholesaler like Gordon Macs, they’re buying Australian products from Australian suppliers – quality products they can trust. They know us, we know them, and they know we’re here to help them. Our experienced team helps them choose the right products. We’re here if anything goes wrong. We can make decisions without going through layers of bureaucracy; we can do things quickly.

“That’s where that partnership approach really comes to the fore.”

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Comments (1)

Jackson Teo April 2, 2024
Hi Scott, Thanks for the opportunity for ROBUS to be working with Gordon Macs. We look forward to many great years to come! Best Regards Jackson Teo

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