Maddy Rake, Sarah McIntyre, Cora McIntyre (4) and Ann Walsh enjoyed meeting The Block contestants Deb and Andy during the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.
Maddy Rake, Sarah McIntyre, Cora McIntyre (4) and Ann Walsh enjoyed meeting The Block contestants Deb and Andy during the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.

Hardware opens with chip off The Block

LIKE a speed dating session, The Block contestants Andy and Deb Saunders struck up a new relationship every couple of minutes at the Maclean Mitre 10 grand opening.

Families lined up to meet the newfound TV celebrities and each time walked away with rose-coloured glasses, wooed by the natural rapport of the delightful couple.

“We just love things like this because we love to connect to people,” Andy said.

The Block contestant Andy was a bit of the mark in the jellybean guessing competition at the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.
The Block contestant Andy was a bit of the mark in the jellybean guessing competition at the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.

A stand-up comedian, Andy effortlessly breaks the ice with complete strangers using his sharp wit and one-liners.

“Their barriers come down when you’re relaxed and having fun with them. The alternative is not having fun with people,” he says.

“I was thinking about doing stand-up, but I was a sit-down comedian today. Sit-down comedy is comedy unplugged - did you know that?

“I love watching smiles on people’s faces. Some people don’t have as many teeth as others, but it’s still a smile nonetheless.”

Big fans Ella Roach (10 and Kiri Roach enjoyed the opportunity to meet The Block contestants Deb and Andy during the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.
Big fans Ella Roach (10 and Kiri Roach enjoyed the opportunity to meet The Block contestants Deb and Andy during the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.

The couple currently share a lot in common with many in the Clarence Valley. Their home at Wallabi Point on the Mid North Coast was recently saved by the NSW Rural Fire Service.

“I know the fires were intense up here and I’ve heard some stories today,” Andy said. “Everyone’s been impacted by bushfires and the Rural Fire Service is doing such an amazing, inspiring job,” Andy said. “My hat’s off to them and I am in great debt, because I don’t think our house would still be standing if it wasn’t for them.

“We’ve lost a lot of wildlife as well. Debbie and I are really sad about that. In Port Macquarie we lost 350 koalas, which is pretty much half the population. And we lost a couple of lives in the Johns River and Mt George area.”

Amanda Galloway and her daughters Ann (2) and Olivia (5 months) met The Block contestants Deb and Andy during the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.
Amanda Galloway and her daughters Ann (2) and Olivia (5 months) met The Block contestants Deb and Andy during the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.

Ann Walsh was among the crowds lining up to meet TV celebrity couple.

“We watch The Block and love Andy and Deb,” she said.

“They did an amazing job with their apartment. It’s amazing what they have to do under pressure.”

Kiri Roach and her 10-year-old daughter Ella are huge fans.

“They’re always so nice and generous and sweet,” she said.

Meanwhile, Amanda Galloway was chasing some genuine advice for her own home renovations and did not walk away disappointed.

“I wanted style advice for my walls,” she said. “They like what I’ve done so far and helped me decide the colour for the next one.”

Mitre 10 Maclean owners Shaun Johnson and Jason Southwell cut the cake with The Block contestant Deb and Andy to officially launch the the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.
Mitre 10 Maclean owners Shaun Johnson and Jason Southwell cut the cake with The Block contestant Deb and Andy to officially launch the the Mitre 10 Maclean grand opening on Saturday, 30th November, 2019.

Maclean Mitre 10 co-owner Shaun Johnson said Andy and Deb were the latest in a string of The Block contestants to visit the hardware store.

The Block is just such a fantastic show and Andy and Deb would probably be the fourth or fifth couple of contestants we’ve hosted over the years,” Mr Johnson said.

“It’s great for the local community to come out and engage with celebrities and appreciate how down to earth and normal they are.

“It’s been awesome, a really good response from the local community and really appreciative of the turnout.”

The opening recognised the hardware store’s branding switch from Home Timber and Hardware, which was acquired by Mitre 10 owners Metcash, which also owns IGA, in 2016.

Mr Johnson and Jason Southwell have co-owned the store since September 2018 and have been in the process of transitioning the business to Mitre 10 since July 1 this year.

“In a town like Maclean and the Lower Clarence satellite suburbs, we understand the community needs to have a well-serviced hardware store with responsive, knowledgable staff so we can give them the right product for their jobs, at the right price.

“If the community tells us over a consistent period of time they need something, we put it into the range here.

“There’s no politics about our business whatsoever. What the comnunity tells us they want we deliver.”