Bundaberg born and bred Peter Row has returned to his roots after retiring from flying rescue helicopters, with he and wife Michelle now operating Jockey Wheel Buddy.
After moving from Victoria the husband-and-wife team have settled in the region, which they said was the perfect decision for operating their small business.
The duo said Jockey Wheel Buddy was an innovation specifically designed for trailers or vans with jockey wheels to prevent them from sinking in soft ground or sand.
Michelle said to their knowledge it was the only product available in the world that could transform a jockey wheel into a jockey stand within seconds without the need for additional tools.
“It is a fit and forget product, it won’t rot, bend, split or rust – can’t fall off it, lose it, or leave it at the last camp site. It really is an ingeniously simple solution,” she said.
“More importantly, we are extremely proud to have this small business 100 per cent Australian – designed, owned, operated, manufactured and distributed – using Australian steel.”
Michelle said they now manufactured the Jockey Wheel Buddy exclusively in the Bundaberg Region.
“To be able to say we are 100 per cent made in Bundaberg is a goal of ours.
“We manufacture and hot-dip galvanise here in Bundaberg.
“COVID certainly made a huge dent in our business, but we are rebuilding after a tough year and seeing a greater connection with customers wanting Australia made only products,” she said.
Choosing to return to the Bundaberg Region to be closer to family simply made sense for the couple.
“My husband was born, and grew up, in Bundaberg, completing his schooling first at Lowmead school, then Bundy North primary and high.
“He completed his apprenticeship at Tofts before moving to the police force for eight years; then (he) flew large rescue and medical helicopters in Queensland, and other states of Australia and overseas for 30 years before retiring in 2018.”
And Michelle said it had turned out to be a good move for the business too.
“We were initially concerned about manufacturing in Bundaberg, thinking that we would need to send our finished product to Brisbane for galvanising, but we have found that Kenco Galvanising does an amazing job for us with very fast turnaround, quality galvanising and very friendly service,” Michelle said.
“Honestly, we are exceptionally lucky to have this facility available here in Bundaberg.
“The benefits of using local trades and manufacturing completely in the region is time and money.
“Previously, when we were located in Warrnambool Victoria, we had to transport our product four hours to and from Melbourne.
“The extra time for turnaround was more than double what we experience here, and we feel very much like a customer and not a number with Kenco.
“We also use the services of Rum City Laser who laser cut all our plates for us. Again, a local business who genuinely care for their customers.”
Bundaberg great for business
Michelle said there were endless benefits when it came to manufacturing in a regional area like Bundaberg.
“Everything is only 20 minutes’ drive from us, and this is huge for business in a supply chain,” she said.
“Our range is ever growing, keeping in line with customers’ needs and requests and we are extremely proud to have a 5-star review from our customers for the quality and effectiveness of our product and our customer service.
The Jockey Wheel Buddy range encompasses 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ jockey wheels and also the Aussie-made Ark XO 500 and 750 jockey wheels, used on most off-road campers and the BOS and Trail-a-Mate jockey wheels.
Michelle said despite COVID-19, and the limitations of material supply with the building boom, Jockey Wheel Buddy continued to grow both their range and customer base and they were proud to be based in the Bundaberg Region.
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