22 December 2020

2020 Year in Review: Taking care of business

| Kim Treasure
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Few, if any, business owners have faced a year of challenges quite like 2020.

The year roared into existence on the back of bushfires and then spluttered and stalled in the face of COVID-19.

Through it all, businesses adapted, evolved or fell by the wayside.

Here, we take a look back at some of the year’s winners in business.

11. Bucking the trends: Monaro Windows, local since 1988

Dan Bosch from Monaro Windows.

Dan Posch, of Monaro Windows, took over the business from his father in 2014. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Henry Posch started Monaro Windows in 1988 and established the business’s reputation for service and manufacturing quality assured products in its Queanbeyan factory. The business thrived, and in 2014 Henry’s son, Dan Posch, bought the business off his father and he continues to run a manufacturing plant at Queanbeyan, where it makes its own products and employs 60-70 local staff.

10. The first cohort of graduates from Bega Valley Innovation Hub – where are they now?

Jackie Parry onboard yacht.

Jackie Parry is an accomplished seafarer who teaches safety courses, including navigation and seamanship. Photo: Jackie Parry Facebook.

The first cohort that graduated from the Bega Valley Innovation Hub (BVIH) included some very determined, very business savvy and very bright people running diverse businesses.

Region Media checked in to see how they were doing.

9. ‘As safe as a car and as fun as a motorbike’: Great Southern Trike Tours Eden are back

Shane Bullock and Many Buxton from Great Southern Trike Tours standing next to trike.

Shane Bullock and Many Buxton from Great Southern Trike Tours. Photo: Supplied.

Like so many businesses, 2020 came with its fair share of setbacks for Shane Bullock and Mandy Buxton, who started their Eden-based business, Great Southern Trike Tours, just weeks before bushfires broke out along the NSW South Coast.

Shane, a NSW Fire and Rescue firefighter, says he spent the next few months “putting wet stuff on hot stuff”.

After an overhaul to become COVID-19 safe, including figuring out how to sanitise the jackets and helmets they provide clients, Shane and Mandy reopened their business, hoping to give tourists a bit of fun during hard times.

8. Proof that staying regional can deliver business success

Southern Phone CEO David Joss standing in front of company sign.

Southern Phone CEO David Joss is based in Moruya and he enjoys working and living regionally. Photo: Supplied.

There’s the age-old belief that to succeed in business or industry, you need to live in the city. But Southern Phone CEO David Joss is proof you don’t have to abandon regional life to be a business leader on the national stage.

With its head office in Moruya, Southern Phone was formed in 2002 with the vision of creating regional jobs and creating a better telecommunications deal for regional Australia. It is now Australia’s largest regional telecommunications company with a national residential and business customer base supported by more than 150 staff.

7. Why the Polaris side-by-side is about to become a farmer’s new best friend

Alan Collins standing with quad bike and Polaris.

Alan Collins stands with a quad bike, and its replacement, the side-by-side seater Polaris. Photos: Supplied.

Quad bikes played an essential part in farming for many years, but with new safety standards, many farmers are now embracing Polaris side-by-side machinery instead. Paul Nicholl from Bayldon Ag explains why.

6. Could lavender be Australia’s next $10 million rural industry?

Crystal Brook Gardens and Lavender Farm.

Crystal Brook Gardens and Lavender Farm in Laggan, southeast NSW. Photo: Crystal Brook Gardens and Lavender Farm Facebook page.

Local lavender producers have welcomed new research that is looking at ways to make Australia a world leader in lavender oil exports.

Demand for Australian lavender oil sits at 50 tonnes per year, but the nation’s producers make well below that level. New research by La Trobe University and AgriFutures Australia is looking at how to turn those numbers around and identify the best growing conditions and farming methods for Australian lavender.

5. Bega businesses band together for Sustainable Saturdays

Gabrielle McGrath (left) and Krystina Kasprzak behind the counter at Green Queen in Bega.

RedPeg Eco Studio owner Gabrielle McGrath (left) and Green Queen owner Krystina Kasprzak (right). Photo: Elka Wood.

Roger Foote, manager at the Salvation Army Family Store Bega, wanted to do something to address the lingering effects of COVID-19 lockdown on local businesses and help promote the use of recycled, handmade and local items.

After speaking to Bega business owners Gabrielle McGrath, from RedPeg Eco Studio, and Krystina Kasprzak, from Green Queen clothing, the trio came up with the idea of Sustainable Saturday.

Held on the first weekend of every month, the initiative is a way to bring people into town on what is usually a quiet day.

4. Georgia is a plumber of the future and a Rheem Apprentice Grant recipient

Georgia Ugov working on underground pipes.

Apprentice plumber Georgia Ugov, 17, received a $3000 grant from Rheem. Photo: Supplied.

Tarago resident Georgia Ugov is wasting no time getting on with her career. The 17-year-old is a first-year apprentice plumber with Queanbeyan-based Simmo’s Plumbing who applied for the Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grants to help pay for her tools and tuition fees. She is one of only 10 people to receive the grant, which is given to chosen apprentices who demonstrate commitment to the plumbing trade.

2. New online marketplace gets local products in front of bigger audience

Outdoors selfie of Jess Bray and Dan Guinane in front of lake and bushland.

Jess Bray (left) and Pat Guinane (right) spent their COVID-19 isolation designing an online marketplace to help Bega Valley small businesses. Photo: Supplied.

In early March, on the long drive back to the Bega Valley from her seasonal job running an ecolodge on Christmas Island, Jess Bray wondered how she could find opportunities in what appeared to be a bleak time.

“One thing I love when I’m in the Bega Valley area is going to the local markets so my business partner, Pat [Guinane], and I started to think about how to help get small local producers online and get them in front of the kind of audience that summer tourism usually brings,” said Jess.

And so Markets Local was born.

1. Female lawyers make history as new partners at Yass law firm

Georgina Love and Carmen Swaffield inside office of Davis Faulkner Lawyers.

Georgina Love (left) and Carmen Swaffield (right) are partners at Davis Faulkner Lawyers. Photo: Hannah Sparks.

Five years ago, if someone had told Georgina Love and Carmen Swaffield they would one day be partners at a rural law firm, they would have been taken by surprise. But at the ages of 28 and 37, respectively, they are the new – and first female – owners of Davis Faulkner Lawyers in Yass.

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So thankful to be included and proud to be a Bega Valley Innovations Hub cohort graduate! We’ve just started offering Boat LIcencing and PWC courses too. We continue to grow. It’s not been easy, but anything worth doing is a challenge! Best to all the other businesses as well – here’s to 2021 being a great year!

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