Out of the business shadows and a look towards the light
SMALL business stress in a struggling Central Queensland climate is too hot for some to handle.
Four years ago, life was dark for Rockhampton's Dennis Frahm and Alison Clarke. Thankfully the Iron Shadow business owners have found a way to emerge from the pressure cooker.
The couple originally both owned separate businesses, Dennis a car restoration and repairs and Alison, an airbrush and custom murals called Art Seduxion.
While operating under the one shop front in Gracemere, the couple were in essence paying double the bills for two businesses that continued to overlap.
Essentially by welding the businesses together, Dennis and Alison are now reaping the rewards. The decision to merge was a no-brainer.
"We had the two businesses, the separate signage and the art but we found that they would keep coming together so often," Alison recalled.
"So we decided to consolidate and go as one.
"It was too expensive and we were really doing it tough. I almost called it quits. We decided to tighten our belt, join forces and streamline things to save money.
"And now we are really growing. Dennis has put on another tradesman and we have two school-based apprentices and looking to bring another."
Under the one banner, Iron Shadow, tying the knot has changed their life. They believe other small businesses could follow their lead.
While they are unable to compete with overseas companies for price, they ensure they will deliver on quality and service.
"We find that having that foundation of service and really listening to the specifics of what a customer really wants helps," Dennis explained.
"We are trying to compete with super cheap overseas companies but we can't. So our quality and service has to be undeniable.
"I feel for the businesses who are doing it hard because that was us not long ago."
Not that their business deals solely in vehicles. Their refusal to turn a customer away saw them recently design a mural for an old claw-foot bathtub.
Iron Shadow Services
Classic car restoration and repairs
Custom 4wd panel
Paint and Bar work
Aluminium, stainless and plastic welding
Boat mods and repairs
Signage and murals
Made to order art, canvases, specific use