CH Smith Marine ‘makes a splash’ in Fairfield

Leading marine dealer CH Smith Marine has opened the doors to its new super-showroom in Fairfield.

The retailer is set to continue its long history of helping others who love their fishing, with the new store now even bigger and better than before.

The ethos of CH Smith Marine has always been to enrich and inform – to share a love of all things boating.

Managing Director Rod Smith, life member and former president of the BIA Victoria, has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge and love of the sea with others. This goal has been at the forefront in designing the new showroom, which Rod has dubbed ‘the showroom of the future’.

Every effort has been made to ensure customers walk away more enthused and informed than ever before – with many informative and interactive displays on hand, alongside the largest working display of marine electronics in Australia.

‘Our goal in setting up this store is to make it an aspirational destination – to give our customers a reason to come back again and again,’ Rod says.

‘The panoramic images around our walls, featuring nine key brands, encourage customers to be identify with the activities. Our job is then to help take them there with good advice and product selection.’

There are plans to host a series of information sessions on all things boating and fishing regularly throughout the year.

The new showroom carries an expanded range of quality products, with all the top brands on display. CH Smith insists on only the best in their selection of products. From marine electronics, to electric trolling motors, boating and fishing equipment, they’ve got you covered. The range also includes a number of award-winning products, some of which being recognised at the 2016 International DAME Awards in Amsterdam.

133 years of history

The store has always been a hub for the fishing industry, and has enjoyed a rich maritime history spanning 133 years. A family business, CH Smith Marine’s beginnings can be traced back to the 1800s.

Charles Henry Smith was born in 1827 in London, and boarded a ship for Australia in 1851. There he quickly became part of the shipping industry – freighting two ships with bamboo from Singapore to Melbourne, along with various housing supplies from Malaysia. Unfortunately for Smith, the ship and cargo went missing at sea, and with it went his fortune.

He took a job as an accountant before being sent to Launceston to act as managing clerk. By 1884 Smith had taken over the business. It then became known as C.H. Smith and Co, trading in everything from bamboo, wool and rabbit skins, to ale, tobacco and tea. They acted as ships agents, insurance brokers, travel agents, wholesale grocers and apple exporters, to name a few.

Over the years, C.H. Smith built the company into a successful marine chandlery, eventually passing the reins over to his sons. The business became chief supplier to the Tasmanian fishing industry, and weathered many storms.

In 1966, CH Smith opened its Melbourne branch at 550 Flinders Street, Melbourne and moved to Collingwood in 1980, specialising in the commercial fishing industry. In 1977, its headquarters moved from Launceston to Melbourne, and the rest they say is history.

Rod Smith is at the helm four generations later, carrying on the tradition. Over the years he’s seen a lot of changes in the way we fish. One of the biggest innovations has been the introduction of fishfinders, with CH Smith importing the world’s first fishfinders from Furuno, Japan in 1957 and JRC GPS in 1990.

Recent new additions have included ground-breaking transducers StructureScan 3D and TotalScan, allowing customers a clearer view of below the water than ever before.

The way we shop has also changed and the business has adapted as a result. This year the CH Smith Marine website celebrates its 20th year, with work currently underway to improve the site’s mobile functionality for online shoppers.

For more information on all things boating and fishing, visit the CH Smith Marine website.