The Range News is Maleny's premium Weekly Newspaper delivered each Friday
to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

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Col says award due
to excellent staff

by Cameron Outridge

Colin Cunningham would never reveal the secret recipe for his famous ice creams, but he says there is nothing to hide regarding his business success.   His and wife Jean’s business Colin James Fine Foods was highly commended at the Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards on Friday.

Col said the recognition was simply testament to his “fantastic staff trying to provide the best service that they can”.  “I take a fair bit of pride from it, there’s no doubt about that,’’ he said.  “But a lot of it comes back to the staff.   We expect big things from our staff and they do deliver.   They do a great job.    Everything we do is made to order.   Every time someone orders a meal that meal is constructed from fresh ingredients on the spot.   “That’s part of our forte.   We want it to be as fresh as we can possibly get it.   In fact our biggest problem is getting ingredients that are as fresh as we would like them to be.”   Mr Cunningham said he received high praise last week from the owner of an Italian company that produces icecream ingredients.

“This guy, he owns the company, and he came and visited our shop and he complimented me on my gelati.   He said ‘it’s better than we have in Italy – and your cream is far superior’. That comes back to your raw ingredients.   That was wonderful.”

Col said the past two years since he started the business had represented a steep learning curve, but it was a wonderful challenge.  “I didn’t expect it to be where we are now.

Both financially and in terms of awards.  “I mean I’ve had a lot of experience in dairy and I know dairy pretty well inside out.   It’s been my life.   But, any business, to start from absolute dead scratch and go where we’ve gone makes me proud.

“We’re in profit in less than two years and that’s good for any business in startup.   So we are pleased with that.”   So what of the future?   “We will expand.   There’s no doubt about that.   We’re really unsure of whether we open another shop, or expand our production and supply to other people.   We’ve got a lot of people wanting us to supply them with our products.  That could be where we’re going but it’s just difficult at this stage to work out what to do.

“We couldn’t survive without tourists and we are heavily marketing towards bringing people from down the Coast to Maleny.”    Col said he was looking forward to the challenges ahead. “I’m still quite happy to get out of bed and get into work.    That’s a good sign.”

Colin Cunningham has a highly commended business to match his prize winning products.

Shade Sheds recognised at Export Awards

Since Transportable Shade Sheds commenced two and a half years ago business has been increasing at a staggering rate – recently reaching a multi million dollar turnover.  “After recently securing more distributors and resellers internationally, some of our staff will be attending an international trade show in Germany next year,’’ said director Allan Lear.   Mr Lear, the inventor of the double patented framing system, has recently invented a completely new product that is totally unrelated to the double patented shade sheds.  “We will be opening a new factory in order to produce this product that will also allow for more local employment opportunities.   The combined impact of showcasing three Australian inventions in Germany should attract many overseas distributors.

“This year has been a very exciting year and we would like to thank firstly our fantastic staff for their dedication.   Thank you also to the huge number of local people and local businesses encouraging the growth of our business.   Mr Lear said receiving the runners up award at the Sunshine Coast Emerging Exporter Awards last weekend was another great accolade.

The award was endorsed and signed by Peter Beattie.   “Finally, we would like to thank Australia Zoo for attracting so many international tourists and therefore many international enquires to our business,’’ said Gerardine Lear.

“Locating our business and display yard either side of the Zoo is really paying off because many tourists do seek business opportunities. “Business helps business.   We wish all other local business in the hinterland region the best year for 2004.”

Transportable Shade Sheds have just launched a new web site with a photo gallery of some of their innovative, custom made sheds sold over the past few years.

The new web site is www.shadesheds.com.

For further information call 1300 667 433.

Maleny Amcal’s reputation grows with
another prestigious business award

Maleny Amcal Pharmacy beat the big boys last Friday night when it was announced winner of the hotly contested Large Retail category at the prestigious Sunshine Coast Excellence in Business Awards.   Pharmacist and owner Marek Malter said it was satisfying to add the award to a recent string of wins which includes Australian Quality Care Pharmacy of the Year this year, Amcal Pharmacy of the Year two years ago and colleague Sam Duggan’s Bowl of Hygea award – which is the top professional prize for pharmacists in the state.

Mr Malter paid tribute to his staff and to other Maleny businesses who set the standard.  “I said to someone at an awards once ‘I’ve got to win these prizes because everybody else in town does’.   You think about it?’’ he said in reference to Maleny’s myriad award winners.   Mr Malter said his pharmacy’s secret lay in striving for continual improvement.  “We strive for excellence,’’ he said.  “We don’t always succeed but we strive for excellence.   It’s about incremental improvement. I go to conferences and one or two things stick in your mind and you bring that back with you.   “Any pharmacy could do what we do.   But I think one of our major points of difference is our staff.   I mean, I’ve got staff that really care.  “Do you know of anyone more caring than Zeke (Steindl)?   Have you ever seen anyone who looks so calm in the face of a challenge as Jill (Jeays)?   And I guess that’s a reflection of the ethos of the business.”

Mr Malter was proud that Amcal staff treated customers with great respect.  “I’ll give you an example. When we have mystery shoppers our pharmacy gets marked down because we don’t promote add-on selling.  “We purposefully don’t do that well.   We will recommend other products when we genuinely think people might need them.   But we don’t actively add-on sell to people just for the sake of it.   Because people, I think, are sick of high pressure sales.

“For many businesses the add-on is an automatic, but we don’t do add-ons unless there’s a need for it.”

“Another example, a lady came in here for her prescription.   We rang her Sandgate pharmacy for her concession number and we got her the medicine.  “It wasn’t a great drama. I sat here on my bum and made three phone calls, but if I hadn’t she would have had to drive to Brisbane.”    Mr Malter said he had a practical and simple philosophy to running a business.  “Now I don’t consciously go out and do business plans and all that sort of thing.   I don’t plan to sell this amount of X or that amount of Y.    We just try and make sure we have the products available.

“I work on the basis that if you actually do it right the rest will follow.”  Amcal staff and owners were in demand from other pharmacies hungry to utilise their systems.   “Sam and Zeke have just spoken at the Pharmacy Assistants Conference at the Gold Coast.

That was to do with improved Quality Care and how you set that up.”   Another thing Marek prides himself on is the shop’s ability to give staff responsibility for their departments.

“If I didn’t have faith in somebody to do the job they wouldn’t have been given the job.”    Marek said it was like mini-businesses running within a big business.  “And they’re very proud of their businesses,’’ he said.

From left, Zeke Steindl, Liz Gibson and Libby and Marek Malter with the Large Retail Excellence in Business Award.

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.