COLIN AND KATE DOWNING MADDISON
Life changing milestone 2: Go with your gut During the property boom in the late 90s to early 2000s, I partnered up with my old man Peter who has a knack of ‘the right place at the right time’, which is all based on a gut feeling. We brought a few properties based on his foresight and turned them over quickly for a reasonable profit. On a trip north we found a property ripe for redevelopment and invested heavily, we put it all on the line and it paid off. We got development approval for units and turned the property over in 12 months to another speculator for double what we paid. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all easy sailing, there were a few properties where we didn’t make a cent. It became obvious that the supply was outweighing the demand so we cashed up. Life changing milestone 3: Listen and learn Between 2004 to 2009, we were offered the role of managing the family cattle property west of Dalby. My wife and I had very little experience in the industry and my old man had struggled to find reliable staff to run his operation the way he had envisaged. We were complete amateurs, so telling people the way to do something was out of our depth; instead we listened to those that we gauged as being leaders in their field and asked for their advice. With a little luck from Mother Nature we had some great productive years. Kate was amazing as she had come from a service industry and thrown into station living, which she embraced with guts and determination. I was very proud of her and it was a fantastic experience, however with the expansion of the coal seam gas industry encroaching on productive farming land the writing was on the wall. The gas company that had the lease over our property had what they call ‘a minor incident’ but what we called ‘a major environmental issue’ to which we stood our ground. They decided it was easier to buy us out than to deal with us so the farm was sold. I learnt the saying that ‘an expert is really only a drip under pressure and you learn more from listening than you do from talking’.
Life changing milestone 4: Support my growing family and the purchase of Queensland Yoghurt in 2011 I grew up on the Sunshine Coast so Kate and I knew that this was where we wanted to raise our growing family. We were excited about the prospect of working with a local producer and knew if we focused on customer service, streamlined operational systems, combined with a quality local product, that we could gain market share. It was head down, bum up and after two and a half years we have increased productivity and sales across the Coast. Last year saw us expand our business with a new factory and we added further cold logistic trucks to our fleet. It is always a gamble to take on a new business in the hope of not only keeping bread on the table for your family but also expanding so at the end of the day you have a viable future. It’s amazing what having a couple of kids can do to your motivation, dedication and perseverance. Life changing milestone 5: Expanding our product range Recently we have expanded our range into other products, being a coldpress coffee called Benchmark and a muesli and yoghurt combo. We felt with all our state-of-the-art cold logistic transportation in place, together with our dedication to customer service that we were primed to offer our outlets further quality product range. It sounds relatively easy but really you are only as good as the staff you hire and I am very lucky to have a great team. Some I inherited when I bought the business and have been here for over nine years. They are the life source of my business and not a day goes by where I don’t appreciate their hard work and loyalty. With this peace of mind it was time to grow and late last year we decided to expand and facilitate a sales division to drive our new product range. We haven’t looked back since with this naturally complementing our existing infrastructure. We love that all our products are locally produced and 100 per cent natural and plan on sticking to an ethos of ‘keeping it local’ as we expand. Really the sky’s the limit and we are so grateful that we can live, work and play in what is undeniably one of the best places in the world! profilemagazine
Published on Jun 1, 2014