Wayne’s World Kingaroy store manager Annette Forsythe with founders Wayne and Erin Clark

February 27, 2019

Customer service is the key to business success … that’s the message that Wayne’s World founder Wayne Clark shared with about 65 members of the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday night.

Wayne was the guest speaker – and host – for the KCCI’s February meet’n’greet which was held at the Wayne’s World store in Haly Street.

He explained how he and wife Erin began the business with one small store in Brisbane in 1997.

“We were 24 and 21 at the time,” he said.

“We opened three stores in Brisbane suburbs in three years.”

However, competition was strong in the Brisbane market and the couple started to look around for other locations.

They saw an opportunity in the Lockyer Valley and opened a store at Laidley in 2000.

As they opened more stores in regional Queensland and NSW, they closed the original city stores to concentrate on the better-performing rural shops.

The couple currently have 11 stores. They did have more, but received an offer a few years ago and sold off “a big chunk”.

Wayne said he had definitely seen a slowdown in the retail market in regional Queensland during the past 12 months.

He said drought and economic factors were affecting businesses.

“Rents go up, power bills go up, wages go up …” he said.

The falling value of the Australian dollar, although good for farm exports, had also hit importing businesses such as his.

He said it was important to keep a close eye on margins, keep expenses as low as possible and always provide good customer service.

* * *

KCCI president Rob Fitz-Herbert thanked the business representatives for coming along to the meet’n’greet in such numbers.

“We are under no illusion that business is tough,” Rob said. “Nights like tonight are critical to keep the business community together and informed.”

He said the KCCI had enjoyed substantial growth in recent years by “keeping things simple”.

He also praised the South Burnett Regional Council’s “South Burnett Directions” unit which he said was working really hard throughout the region to collaborate with different industry groups.

* * *

Glendon Street cafe owner Dawn Wolski spoke about her Drought Angels fundraising project.

Dawn is donating money during a special promotion during March, which is also being supported by some of her suppliers.

“We wouldn’t be able to put food on your table if it wasn’t for a farmer,” she said.

She shared a video, below, prepared by Torkit Business Solutions, which explained the Drought Angels deals.

She also invited business people to come along to a fundraising sausage sizzle will be held outside her store from 7:00am on March 16.


* * *

Meandu Mine acting site manager Jacob Orbell and Tarong Power Stations acting site manager Michael Joy

Two Stanwell representatives – Jacob Orbell, the acting site manager at Meandu Mine, and Michael Joy, the acting site manager at Tarong Power Station – also spoke.

Jacob said thermal generation (ie. coal-fired power) had to be as flexible and competitive as it could be during the transition to a low-carbon future, however it would be still be needed to fill in gaps in supply.

He said a tender for new operator for Meandu Mine had been released to a closed number of participants.

“This is about positioning the mine for the future to set ourselves up to be as competitive as possible,” Jacob said.

He expected tender bids to be returned within the next six weeks, although a public announcement about the successful bidder will not be made until about next January.

In other news, Jacob said it was expected coal deliveries from Meandu to the power stations would be reduced by 300,000 tonnes a year.

And he was particularly proud that 22ha of land had recently being rehabilitated at the mine, one of the more visible dumps at the site.

Another four to five years of ash storage had also been made available.

Michael agreed that the challenge for the Tarong Power Stations was to stay competitive in a market that was rapidly changing because of renewables.

“Our key challenge is responding to changing loads day by day,” he said.

Michael said 2037 was the end of the “nominal life” of the power station, however this could be extended into the 2040s.

Unit 4 at Tarong Power Station will be overhauled from late September to November; and two other major overhauls were planned for 2020.

* * *

Other topics discussed at the meet’n’greet included:

  • KCCI is developing a new website which will share business opportunities with members
  • The town revitalisation project is getting closer
  • KCCI was unsuccessful in its bid for CCTV cameras under the latest round of the Safer Communities Fund
  • BIEDO has been hosting small business roadshows in the South and North Burnett, including at Goomeri, Wondai and Blackbutt
  • Upcoming events include the Women In Agriculture (WaG) Day on March 3 at Durong Hall; Southern Queensland Country Tourism advisory and networking group meeting on March 13 in Toowoomba; Wine and Food in the Park Festival (March 9); and Employsure training seminar (“How to handle difficult employees”) in Kingaroy on March 14. Details of all these events are on the KCCI website
  • Kingaroy Police and community groups are hosting a “Beyond The Boundary” fundraiser to assist the Winton area from 6:30am to 9:30am on March 6 outside the Kingaroy Courthouse.  Senior Sergeant David Tierney said that if people couldn’t make the breakfast, donations could be left at the police station.
  • Snr Sgt Tierney also made a plea for businesses and individuals to assist, wherever they could, the local agencies dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault in the South Burnett, which were underfunded and overworked.

* * *

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