Hardware Direct: Opening Doors for Local Businesses

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RBA Member
Hardware Direct – Architectural Hardware, Locksmiths and Door Operator Supply and Service for over 20 years Hardware Direct have been…
RBA Member

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of business, few give much thought to the humble hardware that literally keeps your doors open — as well as securely locked at night. Dave and Ingrid Nicholson, the husband-and-wife team behind Hardware Direct and Auckland Locksmiths, are experts in everything to do with doors and locking, and they’re more than happy to share that expertise with their new neighbours in Rosebank.

“We’re in architectural hardware sales, so we supply and install any hardware to do with any door for any kind of building,” says Ingrid from their brand-new location on 1 Chanann Place in Avondale. “Door handles, door locks, door closers, security locking, automatic doors, and we have a locksmith division and full workshop.”

Adds Dave, “With a particular bent towards Security Master Keyed systems.”

Dave has been a Master Locksmith for 35 years, and he takes pride in his expertise and ability to find hardware and locking solutions for his customers. He and Ingrid seized the opportunity to buy Hardware Direct, a business Dave called on as a hardware rep, when it presented itself 18 years ago. For Ingrid, who manages the accounts and generally keeps things ticking along, it was a career shift that made quite a change… depending on who you ask.

“I’m an early childhood teacher, and I basically came on board to make sure Dave was being sensible,” she laughs. Chimes in Dave, “Dealing with me is apparently the same!”

Since taking the helm of Hardware Direct, the couple has grown the 27-year-old business into a market-leading architectural hardware retailer and wholesaler, door merchant (including manufacturing and supplying pre-hung doors), importer and installer of automatic door operators (both sliding doors and swing doors), and full locksmithing service for the greater Auckland region (with an office in Hamilton, too). For Dave, the hardware is the exciting stuff, and the couple’s drive to provide the best possible service and experience to their customers soon made it obvious that they couldn’t stop there.

“When we started, we were in architectural hardware supply only, and we were the little guys in the Auckland market,” says Dave. He recounts turning up to jobs and running into delays caused by doors yet to arrive and slowdowns further up the chain, a frustration that led him to supply or manufacture what he needed himself.

“Today we supply and install doors and frames (hollow core, solid core, and fire rated doors) to businesses and residential, and we supply and install automatic door operators (sliding doors and swing doors) into hospitals, shopping malls, offices, that type of thing. We also make our own kick plates, that piece of steel you sometimes see on the bottom of a door, because we were being hamstrung by suppliers who were taking two weeks to make them. Now I make them in a day, so we’re faster and more responsive to our clients’ needs.”

Another logical step was to take on a friend’s locksmithing business, now branded Auckland Locksmiths by Hardware Direct.

“When the locksmith side came on board,” says Ingrid, “it meant that instead of just buying and on-selling door hardware, we’re also a locksmith, and we install, master key and service all our hardware. We have that complete offering. On hardware, it’s open and shut… we do it all.”

Hardware Direct is also authorised by Auckland Council as an Independent Quality Person (IQP) for servicing and issuing 12a documents for building warrants of fitness for automatic doors. Like everything else supplied and manufactured by Hardware Direct, the team has become experts in automatic door technology.

“We’re the agent for Spanish-made Manusa doors, and they’re the fastest automatic door in the in the world,” says Dave. “When people walk up to an automatic door, they do that little shuffle to slow down for the door, or I’m in the habit now of waving my hand in front of me so the doors have time to recognise me. You don’t need to do that with my doors — mine are fast, so you just keep walking. In fact, you can have quite a trot on and you won’t walk into them. That’s something nobody else has here in New Zealand; our doors have speed adjustments from 1-100. That’s up to twice the speed of other operators.”

Now, with the move to Avondale, the Hardware Direct and Locksmith Direct teams are together for the first time — and loving it. “Deciding to leave our two sites on Central Park Drive and in Balmoral was quite a big move,” says Ingrid, with Dave joking that it was “emotionally traumatic.”

“But we’re really happy that we’re here, and it’s great having the Auckland team under one roof.”

Whereas the team would previously be forced to send customers across town to their other location for key cutting or wait several days for supplies to come across, Hardware Direct’s new single Auckland location means solutions are just a few steps away. “The team loves it because you’ve got the hardware guys talking to the locksmith guys and they’re able to sort a problem for somebody standing at the counter immediately,” says Dave.

Adds Ingrid, “We’ve fitted out the building to suit us and our processes. Our locksmith workshop is large and light, and it has all the facilities it needs, and it’s soundproofed because of the machines in there. We’re not just fitting in with a space — we set it up to meet our needs.”

The Hardware Direct team is keen to get to know their Rosebank neighbours and offer their help with “anything to do with doors, locks and hardware.” They’ve joined the RBA Loyalty Programme, and they’re pleased to offer a 15% discount to cardholders wanting to have keys cut or locks installed for their home.

Come and visit the team at Hardware Direct and Auckland Locksmiths at 1 Charann Place, Avondale. You can also get in touch by giving them a call on 09 837 1561, or check out their websites: https://www.hardwaredirect.co.nz/ and https://www.aucklandlock.co.nz/

Roundabout Magazine

This article was published in Roundabout Magazine Issue 208 (June 2024).

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