Inside Santa’s workshop

From life size porcelain unicorns to miniature keyrings, Australia’s favourite wholesale gift supplier has maximised its 12,000 sqm warehouse space to ensure bulk quantities of novelties are available for kids and children at heart.

Malmar started as a single retail shop in 1971 on the Gold Coast and since then, it’s evolved to become Santa’s biggest competitor with an impressive portfolio of wholesale gift and homewares.

Malmar operates from a purpose built 12,000 sqm volumetric warehouse, showroom and offices. “This means we’re able to hold bulk quantities of our huge range of products. Seriously, there isn’t room to swing a cat in there,” Dave Turner, Director of Malmar Group says.

Malmar works with retail chains, gift shops, homeware stores and novelty outlets, delivering a world of quality homewares and gift products. “We have over 40 years’ experience in the giftware and homewares import and wholesale supply industry. Our expert buying team travels the world to find affordable, wholesale gifts that are of high quality that will sell fast,” he says.

With the increase in sales online and consumer demand for gift products direct to their door, Malmar partnered with Combilift five years ago to ensure its new facility could be utilised to its maximum capacity as more toys, plates, artwork and furniture items were being purchased and distributed.


Whilst Santa relies on a sleigh to move gifts from A to B, Dave says Combilift’s Aisle Masters have been a magical success to reaching new heights. Five years ago, the company was struggling with their previous racking layout and were considering a costly move to a bigger space that would constantly require upgrading.

“We weren’t happy with our current machinery, so we trialled Combilift’s Aisle Masters and we were thrilled that Combilift was closely involved in the design of our new facility,” Dave says. “They were like Santa’s helpers.”

Combilift worked with Malmar to design and construct a highly beneficial racking layout for its new warehouse in Coomera on the Gold Coast with 10,000m2 of pallet space available. “We did the design and construct of a new shed and Combilift optimised a custom made racking solution and picking design before the building was finalised. This allowed us to design the shed around the racking – which is the opposite of what most people do,” Dave says.

He credits the process as a secret success to a smooth operation. “We could design all the structural components like columns, internal plumbing parts and control drops so there was minimal impact on forklift routes,” Dave says.


Dave said narrow aisle racking and machinery to accompany it has been vital to hold bulk quantities of Malmar’s growing range. “More racking capacity has been a game changer for the quantity of products we can distribute,” Dave says.

He highlights the implementation of Combilift Aisle Masters at the Gold Coast site for facilitating and managing the movement and sale of giftware around the clock. “Homewares and novelties come in at all different sizes and weights, so the combination of racking and versatile forklifts ensures safe handling of fragile objects whilst also maximising storage space,” Dave says.

The site is home to four Combilift Aisle Masters  and Dave says there are definitely more units in the pipeline, especially with the Federal Government’s instant asset write off program that will allow the business to claim an immediate deduction for the business portion of the cost of an asset in the year the asset is first used, or installed ready for use. He says in a time of soaring online order volumes, this is a massive advantage.

However, despite the instant asset write off, Dave says the Combilift Aisle Masters are a cost-saving investment that is key to their operation. “We have essentially doubled our warehouse space in pallet storage. Going twice as high halves the rent of a warehouse space,” he says.


Dave says the Combilift Aisle Masters can soar to 15 metres in lift height.  “By optimising your racking layout and reducing aisle widths down to as little as 1.6 m, you can dramatically increase your storage capacity within your existing facility,” he says.

“It’s cheaper and effectively free to go higher! It’s amazing how much space can be utilized in one warehouse. Our units can reach up to the roof,” he says. “If you have five rack levels and it’s optimised for another level, you can get up to 20 per cent free space. Dense capacity and going higher is key.”

Dave says the operation has never been busier. He credits the Combilift Aisle Masters’ battery capability, allowing maximum power through double shifts. “Our workers have appreciated the ergonomic design and the low maintenance and reduced downtime of the units. They’re very easy to operate on any floor surface of our facility,” he says.

“Without our partnership with Combilift we would have needed a warehouse that was double the capacity. We are confident in the optimisation of our existing facility so as consumer demand increases for giftware and homewares, we know we can continue to get the job done and maintain our position as Australia’s favourite gift supplier.”



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