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The Infamous Rivalry

For the past decade the Berkely Street store in the UK and the Garden City store in Western Australia have been battling it out for their spot at the top. In this week’s article, we speak to store managers and long-time Global attendees Matiu Rudolph (WA) and Matthew Norris (UK)

I understand there’s been some long-term rivalry between your two stores, where has this stemmed from? How did it start?

Matiu: Every year the most coveted prize for a retail store is the award for ‘most profitable store globally’ it means you are the best of approx 3000 retail stores across the world (um don’t quote me on that number) Our store has won it in 2008 and 2013 and since 2014 Berkely St have won it every year for the last 3 years. But it would also be remiss of me not to recognise the efforts of Flight Centre Sydney Airport who, as a strong team in the last few years, is always in the mix for this award come June 30.

Matt: If I remember correctly (and my grey matter isn’t what it once was!), it was when Michelle Nievaart was TL of Garden City. We had a really close battle one year (maybe 5 or 6 yrs ago) which they won in the last couple of days of the year. If my memory serves me correctly, Michelle sent us a bunch of flowers on July 1st saying thanks for the game and for making them better consultants which I thought was a really classy touch. I sent each of their team a little red London bus fridge magnet and told them to remember us every time they looked at it as we’ll be playing the same game again the next year. I think that is how it started


What’s the level of competition like?

Matiu: We enjoy having strong competition in Berkley St and we have a great camaraderie between our team and their Team Leader Matt Norris and his team. It’s weird because our team have a strong drive to dominate that award and at the same time appreciate the level that Berkeley St play at because it pushes us to be better.

Do we want to beat them? Hell Yeah.

Do we enjoy having such a strong team to compete with? Absolutely.

Would we be as good as we are without a great team like Berkley St to drive our competitiveness to be better? Maybe not

What I do know is that if Berkely St get up on stage in Hawaii this year to receive the most profitable award instead of us then as we have done the last 3 years our team will be right next to the stage to congratulate and applaud them.

Matt: I think it’s a good thing to meet the people you compete with – it helps when the rivalry is competitive but friendly of course. Every global since we first met, we’ve always made time to catch up with each other on these weekends and dare I say it, we seem to like each other as well!

I’m not sure I can provide statistics as we never get sent an end of year handbook. The distribution of the handbooks over here (UK) has recently become a more sensitive issue so the only way I get the global one these days is by nagging KAW relentlessly 🙂

But…I can tell you that our annual shop PB has increased by over 300% in the last 5 years and playing this game with GC has definitely helped that to happen!


What’s been your best Global and why?

Matiu: Haha, one of my best global stories involves a certain team leader, a walk on stage to receive the award, a gap in that stage, 2000 onlookers and an unfortunate wrong step. He eventually pulled himself out of that hole to collect the award but not before etching himself into the memories of many a Flightie, well payed my friend well played! (I’ll leave Matt to provide more detail if he wishes!)

Matt: As I’ve said “it’s a very memorable experience” – haha!

I was just making sure everyone had something to remember that particular global with. Some people can get a bit forgetful after one too many lemonades you see…..……

So yeah, that’s me on Youtube ‘cementing my place in history’ shall we say! Someone had to warn the room there were gaping great holes in the stage….


How many Global’s have you attended and which was your favourite?

Matiu: I have been to 11 global balls and my favourite would have to be Singapore 2012. Friday night party, balmy warm evening, 200 meters of white sand beach, pool party, drinks flowing, a silent disco at one end of the beach and at the other end FatBoy Slim throwing down a great set for the 2000 plus crowd of this company’s finest! Makes me smile even now as I write this.

Matt: Singapore – the first one – FatBoy Slim on the beach DJ’ing for our own private party – I went to his free party on Brighton Beach in 2002 – they expected 60,000 and quarter of a million people turned up! It was a bit different being on a beach with him and only 3500! My first one in Vegas will always be up there as will Barcelona but the first Singapore is definitely my favourite.


What are you most looking forward to about Hawaii this year?

Matiu: This global ball should be awesome, Hawaii is a great destination to have one of the best parties in the world, As always though the thing I look forward to most is the opportunity to party with my amazing team where we can celebrate and be grateful for the effort we put in , the results we achieve and the true quality of the people we get to work with each day. Global ball also acts as a semi reunion get together for our team as well, where we get to reunite and reignite the great friendships we have made with people within the company that work all over the world. Berkely St definitely come into that category as well and we very much look forward to catching up with them at global.

Matt: Getting there on Thursday and not Friday!


What’s the one message you’d like to share with all the Flighties out there with regards to Global?

Matiu: This is my message to all the Flighties out there that aspire to be at global and have never been, from the novice that has just started in the company all the way to the journeyman that has been with the company for years and not been to a global –

You MUST get to this party. You MUST get to this party. You MUST get to this party.
Words don’t do it justice, seeing is believing and once you swallow the ‘red pill’ that is Global ball you’ll never see this company in the same way again.

Matt: Do everything in your power to get to one of these events because no matter where it is, it’s an epic party and I don’t know many companies that put on such a show for their staff. It’s a very memorable experience.


There you have it – a little bit of competition never hurt anyone 😉

See you in Hawaii, Mahalo Flighties!