COMEBACK: Brad Walton prepares to open the first of 23 Silly Solly's stores at Kirkwood.
COMEBACK: Brad Walton prepares to open the first of 23 Silly Solly's stores at Kirkwood. Mike Richards GLA091017SILY

It's an oldie but a goodie and it's coming back to Gladstone

SILLY Solly's is back and "you'll never pay full price again".

It's a catch-phrase well familiar to bargain shoppers 20 years ago and now founder, Solly Stanton and Rockhampton businessman, Brad Walton are defying the downward trend in discount stores to relaunch the brand.

The first of three stores opens in Gladstone later this month, followed by Rockhampton and Yeppoon, with plans for a further 20 over the next two years.

Stanton says his influence lies in advice and strategy but it's Walton, the man behind Brad's Bargain Box, who is driving the business.

As the new owner of Silly Solly's, Walton engaged its founder as a consultant.

"He is so well recognised in this industry, he's instrumental really," Walton said.

"I'm honoured to have him work with me and guide me."

The 'nothing over $5' concept was Brad Walton's brainchild as was the idea to do it under the Silly Solly's brand.

"It's such a powerful brand with a great history and now it's something that's really going to change the market," he said.

"I've worked hard to get the right products...this is not just junk, it's quality stuff you'd expect to pay $10-$20 for, but it's only $5 so you can walk in knowing that you're just going to pay pocket change."

Silly Solly's Gladstone store at Kirkwood Shopping Centre will employ about eight staff and Walton is confident he has the right mix of a good location anchored by Woolworths, carparking and a decent sized space.

"Gladstone doesn't have much, people are missing out and the town needs this," he said.

SECOND TIME AROUND

At its height, Silly Solly's consisted of 40 stores and employed 2000 staff.

New Zealand-based The Warehouse acquired Silly Solly's along with 117 Crazy Clints stores for $118 million in 2000.

The Australian venture was not successful and the stores were sold in 2005.

At the time, founder Steven Tindall took responsibility for the failure and told The Australian he had underestimated the structure retail would take in Australia.

The retail sector was slow to react to the online revolution and paid the price with discount stores appearing to close faster than they were opening.

Stanton says the concept behind this new venture is the first one in Australia and designed to "take out the internet".

"Four or five years ago Kmart was selling t-shirts for $15, now they're $5...Maccas are selling $1 burgers," he said.

"But the discount trade hasn't come down.

"That's what makes this unique. No-one is doing this type of thing."

He says the 'nothing over $5' concept is for the battlers, the poor people who need a bargain and the rich people who love a bargain.

"People want to see $1 and $2," Stanton said.

"Everyone is hurting, and we want to give the batters a go."

FAST FACTS

. Silly Solly's will offer a full range including clothing, homewares, confectionary, food lines, hardware, toys.

. Opens on October 26 at Kirkwood Shopping Centre

. Two more stores will open in Rockhampton and Yeppoon with plans for 20 more

. Nothing will be priced over $5

. Container of Christmas stock arriving soon



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