Mark Bunt has seen it all on East Street.
Mark Bunt has seen it all on East Street. Jann Houley

Good service is key to surviving 30 years of business

HE'S DRESSED the likes of Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and Kenrick Tucker.

He's seen fashion come and go from wide ties to stylish chinos.

This week, Mark Bunt is celebrating 30 years of business.

Mr Bunt began working at Norm's Menswear as a fresh-faced (almost) 18 year-old.

Mark Bunt in the early days.
Mark Bunt in the early days. Contributed ROK300915abunt4

"I used to work in a sports store, I always enjoyed retail and talking to people and that sort of thing,” he said.

When it was Norm's Menswear.
When it was Norm's Menswear. Contributed ROK300915abunt5

After 10 years working for Norm Jeha, in 1989, Mr Bunt bought the business off him and re-branded it to Mark Bunt Menswear.

"It was a big decision to give away the name... it was well known, he had created a name for himself,” he said.

Mr Bunt was already the store manager and was buying the stock so it was a natural transition into being owner.

He did however do some reshuffling in the stock they carried.

Mark Bunt Menswear's fit-out.
Mark Bunt Menswear's fit-out. Contributed ROK300915abunt3

"We have moved on from normal run of the mill labels... I felt as thought Rocky was ready for better labels... I advanced the labels into stronger labels like Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfgier,” Mr Bunt said.

The store has always had a strong suit business for events, weddings and formals and also corporate uniforms.

In his 40 year menswear career, Mr Bunt has seen fashion go from double breasted jackets to now single breasted slim fits, cuffed trousers, pleated trousers to slim fits.

"Fashion has changed a lot... it's now a lot of bright colours,” he said.

"People tend to spend more money on clothes and get dressed up these days.... people now take in their appearance a lot more.

"Menswear has gone a long way, if anything prices have come back, it's more affordable now .

"There is no excuse for a young guy going to a wedding, races, formal, not to look a million bucks.”

MILESTONE: Mark Bunt celebrates 30 years in business.
MILESTONE: Mark Bunt celebrates 30 years in business. Jann Houley

The beauty of being in the business for so long is knowing your customers and seeing them come back time and time again.

"We're getting young guys now we served 10 to 15 years ago... they are getting married.... it's a whole new chapter,” he said.

"We've been here for that long.”

He has also dressed all of the "local pollies” and mayors when we had males.

He has sold ties to prime minsters including Tony Abbott and also Barnaby Joyce and Kenrick Tucker.

He has also seen the rise and fall of Rockhampton's main street.

"I know everything in East St... I have survived when it was a street, then it was a mall, now it's back to a street... I've seen a lot of history and a lot of things change,” Mr Bunt said.

The street was a bustling place in the 90s and retail was very strong into the early 2000s.

"We never had the shopping centres then, we were strip retail,” Mr Bunt said.

"The CBD is still strong, Rocky has grown and with more shopping centres... it's more spread.”

Reflecting on the years of hard work, Mr Bunt said service is paramount when it comes to success.

MBM:

  • Previously Mark Bunt Menswear
  • Owned by Mark Bunt and Brett Burke
  • Began in 1989
  • 122 East St
  • www.markbuntmenswear.com.au
  • Corporate uniforms, wedding, formal, suit hire, casual menswear and accessories
  • Full tailoring service
  • Hugo Boss, Gant, Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste, Studio Italia, Ganton, Billabong and Quicksilver

From good products, a big stock range, going over and above for customers, offering same day alterations - it all adds up.

"A guy can get dressed from top to toe without going anywhere else...they can come in here and pick up with wedding suit and pick up casual beach wear for his honeymoon,” Mr Bunt said.

"I think that is a big thing, guys are short on time, they can come in here and buy it all... we do everything.

"If I was on the other side of the fence, if I could get dressed without having to go to four to five shops.”

Staff has also been key to thriving and surviving.

The store has kept the same staff for many years, including Jodie Fletcher who has been with them for 20 years.

He also has Brett Burke, who he worked with at Norm's.

Mr Burke became a partner in the business four years ago and it was renamed to MBM.

"They say partnership don't work well but this is a perfect case, it works well,” Mr Bunt said.

"We bounce off each other and it's good for the business,” Mr Burke said.

"The knowledge we have in menswear, you are lucky to find it.”

Looking ahead to the future, Mr Burke hopes to see another 30 years for the business.

"I would just like to keep the tradition and the service, the quality of stock, our loyal customers and keep the name going,” he said.

"More importantly it's service, people feel welcome to come in the doors, actually try the product on and feel it.

"All we can do is keep going strong and keep the finger on the pulse.”

He also mentioned the business is an integral part of the community.

"We sponsor race days, we put it back into the community... without local business, towns would struggle,” Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke took the time to congratulate Mark and his wife Sue for 30 years in business.

"There is a lot of hurdles in businesses these days.... anyone that has been in business for over 30 years... you have your weather events and cyclones, interest rates up and down.... to be still going after 30 years is a big achievement.”



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