Business moves on after 15 years of strong success
IT STARTED off in a small shop with only two staff and 15 years later it has grown to a bigger location with five staff.
It’s the end of an era for Karina and Ross Ford, who have made the decision to sell their business, Rockhampton Mavericks Western Wear.
The couple, who live on a property near Capella, were influenced to buy the business in 2004 as their daughter Tanielle was working there while she was in boarding school at Rockhampton Girls Grammar School.
She had completed a retail certificate through the business when it came up for sale.
Karina saw it as a chance to make some off-farm income.
Back then, the shop was located in a small store at the Great Western Hotel.
Tanielle had some great ideas to create a website and build up the online shopping.
They built their way up and in 2012 they bought the space on Canning St, across from Allenstown Square and Dan Murphy’s and relocated and expanded the business.
“We’ve grown the business, it was quite tiny in a very small room,” Karina said.
“It’s gone from a very small business that had two staff and now we’re up to five, two full-time and three part-time.”
There are now more than 5000 items on the website and they sell all over Australia with a lot of interest from customers in New Zealand.
“It’s good for rural people that are remote, we have a lot of repeat clients from remote rural people all over Australia,” Karina said.
They travel to the western world trade fair in Denver to get most of their stock.
What sets them apart is the variety and uniqueness in the store.
They sell everything from western homewares, furniture, jewellery, saddles, belts and more.
There will always be the consistent items they sell like jeans that farmers need but in the last few years cowhide has become really popular.
Anything from floor rugs, handbag, wallets and furniture with cowhide is quick to move off the floor.
While Karina and Ross live four and a half hours away at their Capella property, Forest Hill, the distance hasn’t been a challenge.
“Not with technology these days, you can log in all the time,” she said.
Karina also praised her staff – the store manager Kerrie Hamilton has been with Karina since she bought the business and Emma Peel has been with her for 13 of the 15 years.
Now as life moves on Karina feels it is time to hand over the reins.
There has been some family illness and her children are having children of their own and she would like to free up personal time.
“We are just putting it out there, hoping someone in 2020 will come along and buy an off-farm business,” she said.
Karina believes there is potential in the business for the next buyer.
“It could expand further, go to another level,” she said.