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First look at family's huge new Rockhampton store

Justin Keepkie at the new Heilbronn's store on Gladstone Rd.
Justin Keepkie at the new Heilbronn's store on Gladstone Rd. Chris Ison ROK121017cheilbronns2

FORTY-eight years, 2504 weeks and 17,531 days of Murray Keepkie's life have been poured into his Rockhampton business, Heilbronns.

Having been with the store since age 15, the 63-year-old owner is seeing a dream of his come to fruition with the business finally expanding.

After outgrowing their previous shop front in William St, the Keepkie family made the decision to look for a larger location.

Shortly after they began looking, the right property came up for sale and Murray, his wife Elaine and son Justin made the move to Gladstone Rd.

Moving into what is popularly known as the old Foodworks building, renovations on the new location began immediately.

NEW DIGS: Murray Keepkie, Justin Keepkie and Elaine Keepkie at the new Heilbronn's store on Gladstone Rd.
NEW DIGS: Murray Keepkie, Justin Keepkie and Elaine Keepkie at the new Heilbronn's store on Gladstone Rd. Chris Ison ROK121017cheilbronns1

Four months on and the cattlemen outfitters and saddlery store is open in the new location.

Murray said business has always gone well due to the strong beef industry in and around Rockhampton.

"Business has always been pretty consistent for us because we carry the basic lines, it's what they (farmers) need," Murray said.

"We are not a mining town, mining towns are Gladstone and Mackay but Rockhampton is still the beef capital and the industry is alive and well.

"Obviously when the cattle industry is feeling the drought and they've got to feed cattle, they do tighten up (on their money).

"But when those times come we buckle up and always know we can handle it."

BIG MOVE: Heilbronns owners Elaine and Murray Keepkie, with their son and manager Justin Keepkie, at their William St business.
BIG MOVE: Heilbronns owners Elaine and Murray Keepkie, with their son and manager Justin Keepkie, at their William St business. Katie Webse ROK60717Heilbronnsk1

Opening the doors on Monday Murray said he was happy to see the renovations of the shop come together.

"Well it was Foodworks before us and there were fridges along the walls," Murray said.

"We had to get rid of them and even out the floor.

"It was great seeing it come together, by the end we had had enough but our builder Keith from Keith Broadhurst builders was wonderful."

The former Foodworks site on Gladstone Rd, Rockhampton has become Heilbronns massive new store.
The former Foodworks site on Gladstone Rd, Rockhampton has become Heilbronns massive new store. Chris Ison

The family faced a few hurdles setting up in the new shop with the handover date for the shop scheduled days before the Rockhampton floods earlier this year.

"When it was just about to flood it was the takeover date, we knew it flooded in this area when we moved though," Elaine said.

"It won't come through the shop though."

Despite a small scare with the floods, the family opened on time.

"I've been in the business a long time and know the ropes and see the opportunity," Murray said.

"There is still growth and money in Rockhampton."

Topics:  business and growth business move business rennovation cattlemen outfitters local businesses new look saddlery store



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