A Hughenden couple have taken a punt and invested into the north west community opening a new agricultural and industrial centred business.
Aaron and Sarah Zammit recently opened Hughenden Freight and Industrial. A locally owned and operated freight and industrial specialist store and service.
No stranger to the bush, Sarah is a local girl with family ties to the land growing up on a cattle property.
A Brisbane boy, Aaron moved to Townsville at 21 and began his career in the power tool industry.
"I was previously state manager for Milwaukee Tool's and general manager for Total Tools Townsville for the last few years," he said.
"It is a really solid background of this particular industry.
"Sarah worked for Landmark for a long time and spent the last few years at Rabobank.
"Both our backgrounds really help us with what we're doing now. Sarah has got a lot of strengths that I don't have in terms of the back end of the business and I look after the front end."
Aaron said the business idea came to fruition through identifying a clear need for the supply of quality industrial products in the region at competitive prices.
"We are focused on offering a range that hasn't existed in the Hughenden area until now," he said.
"The previous owner was ready to move on and we thought it was a great blank canvas and opportunity for us.
"With both our background knowledge, we really wanted to take the next step for ourselves rather than work for someone else.
"We're just giving it a crack."
Hughenden Freight and Industrial offer steel and industrial supplies along with freight services.
Aaron said they wanted to add an industrial supplies element to their business along with reviving steel sales and oil distribution.
"Our business model is very simple," Aaron said.
"We want to bring a premium offer to Hughenden at a rate that is comparable to a capital city.
"If you know the industry you can really be competitive and give a reason for people to buy locally and that is our goal."
When quizzed about their consumer base, Aaron said it was not just the agriculture industry at play.
"The agricultural sector is obviously huge, but there are plenty of renovations going on and new development projects," he said.
"People are investing or fixing up their businesses or adding additional elements. There is a lot happening not just in town, but in the wider catchment.
"If you delve into it more, you'll know there is a big market and guys are screaming for some decent products, and having them at their fingertips, rather than having to order it all the time from Brisbane or Townsville."
The couple purchased the business in April 2021, however spent the last year fine tuning their model and understanding exactly what their customers wanted before opening.
"You can't rush these things, we were really big on getting it done properly," Aaron said.
"Taking that extra bit of time to understand the market and understand the client base has really paid off for us.
"We have a better understanding of what the people want."
The business officially opened last Friday with a grand opening held in the afternoon. Specialist brand exhibitors travelled to Hughenden to showcase power tool products and the range on offer in store.
With doors now open, Aaron said the steel and freight component of their business began when they initially purchased last year.
"The ag market is the majority of our business, but our customers are buying all sorts of things," Aaron said.
"I'd like to think we're plugging a few gaps with our business because we have a few different elements of it. We didn't want to be too reliant on one particular industry.
"Steel is going really well for us and we invested a fair amount into keeping stock on the shelves, which is a massive point of difference out here.
"Everyone was travelling to Charters Towers, Townsville or even further to get steel supplies."
Aaron said freight services were another core element of their business.
"We really want to start expanding our freight and offering regional deliveries because there is a big gap for that," he said.
"People are buying products out here, but it is really hard to get it to their properties."
With Hughenden offering a central base to wider rural regions, products and supplies have since been sent to Richmond, Mount Isa, Corfield and even the Northern Territory.
"Sarah and I just kick ourselves and say 'why didn't we do this five years ago?' because there is so much opportunity out here if you really want to take a leap and give it a go," Aaron said.
"I really want to get across that there are so many opportunities in places like this. Little towns can often get overlooked, but there is so much work available and it is really exciting.
"Anyone who wants to give it a go should do it because it will definitely pay off in the long term."