Friends save entire city business and its workers
WHEN a long-standing Toowoomba business went into voluntary administration, two friends made sure 25 employees and more than 400 customers would not be lost.
Dale and Linda Ostrofski and Steve and Sandy Cay bought metal coatings business VT Industrial Coatings and renamed it PBS Specialty Coatings.
The VT Industrial Coatings group went into voluntary administration last November, which threatened 25 staff at its Toowoomba business on Molloy St.
PBS Specialty Coatings managing director Dale Ostrofski started out as a painter for VT Industrial Coatings eight years ago.
He went on to be a scheduler, production manager and eventually general manager.
When the business ran into difficulty, Mr Ostrofski couldn't stand to lose the brand he helped raise from the ground up and its hard-working staff.
His mate, Mr Clay, was 18 months into a sales role at VT Industrial Coatings so they seriously considered buying the business.
With the support and patience of their wives, finance manager Linda Ostrofski and purchase and procurement officer Sandy Cay, the decision was finalised in three months.
Mr Ostrofski said PBS Specialty Coatings offered powder coating, spray painting and blasting services to more than 400 customers across Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.
"The business had been going for nearly 25 years and was a family business," he said.
"The previous owner started as a sandblaster then went to a little shop and then a big shop here.
"Staff was a big factor (in buying the business). There are a lot of guys who have been with me for a long time and some of them would have crumbled really bad."
Mr Ostrofski and Mr Cay first bonded over hot rods about 30 years ago.
The pair has bucked a trend; being best friends and going into business together.
Mr Cay is the sales director at PBS Specialty Coatings.
He and wife Sandra took a huge risk buying the business and mortgaged their home.
"If this business would have shut down, there are a lot of large agricultural-based companies in town that would have lost the opportunity to get their powder coating done here in Toowoomba," he said.
"So not only is it saving 25 employees from going to unemployment but a lot more industries across the region would have been affected.
"It was very nerve-wracking; there were a lot of sleepless nights to take this business but it's a calculated risk."
PBS Specialty Coatings supervisor Darren Kingdom was one of the 25 employees that could have lost his job.
"Dale ensured us from the beginning that he would look after us," he said.
"We were all worried but he made us comfortable."