Peter Gregory, AIMNet; Jason Millward, DEEWR employment coordinator; Jayne Ross, Centrelink talk with Rush Surf founder Wade James after yesterday’s presentations.
Peter Gregory, AIMNet; Jason Millward, DEEWR employment coordinator; Jayne Ross, Centrelink talk with Rush Surf founder Wade James after yesterday’s presentations.

Words of wisdom at master class

MAYOR Mick Kruger was up bright and early for yesterday's retail master class, presented by the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce at the Boat Club.

And he was put to the test early on when Craig Manley, owner of four McDonalds fast food outlets including one in Hervey Bay, threw down a challenge.

“We would love to open another store here,” he said.

“We're still trying to find right zoned land in the Bay. We'd like to bring 100 more jobs to the Bay, Mayor Mick.”

Mr Manley said Hervey Bay had been a challenge – particularly with the onset of a flurry of competitors – since he opened here in 2007.

“It was a boom time. The Bay was the hotspot.”

The prevailing boom faded however, but he voiced his belief the tide would change again.

“Hervey Bay will come again.”

He outlined the various challenges he has faced since he first bought a McDonalds store in the early 1990s, not least the period six years ago when McDonalds and fast food were constantly linked to a universal obesity plague.

“The biggest thing we did was change our menu.

“We did it the right way, we informed people what was in our product. We didn't take any short cuts.

“We used a lot more retail tactics, we began to think a lot more like retailers.

“If we don't respond to our customers, someone else will and people will be out the door.”

Mr Manley was the first of three speakers yesterday morning, men with business acumen and words of wisdom to offer to the full house.

Bundaberg's Wade James narrated in enlightening detail the construction of the Rush Surf retail chain.

“Cash flow and knowing where your money is is key,” the 40-year-old said.

He said a full monthly profit and loss exercise had served him well as he opened and operated 38 stores across Queensland.

“That's the number one reason I've been able to do what I do.

“Get your position right, and get your rent right and you've got to have quality gear.”

Hervey Bay's Flash Harry, Adrian Hewton, also got down to the nitty gritty of business.

“In retail you need to find out why your customer walks in the store.

“You've got to be proactive, proactive, proactive.

“Find out what people want out there and then go and find it. People will love you for it.

“When times are tough, talk to people, listen to good people.

“And never be too busy to see a sales rep because they could have your next year's profit in their laptop.”

He said Hervey Bay – in terms of price – had been the toughest market he's ever worked. “If you learn that, you'll be fine. Hervey Bay is very price conscious.”



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