JAX Tyres Maroochydore
If you find yourself whistling 'When Irish eyes are smiling' as you walk out the front door of JAX Tyres in Maroochydore, it would hardly be surprising.
The store - one of 70 in a chain which stretches from north Queensland to Tasmania - was taken over last year by Patrick and Anna O'Duffy, just six months after they migrated to Australia from the Emerald Isle.
The couple were both born and bred in Dublin and have run a variety of motor trade businesses in that city for the last 30 years.
"We were actually living about 30 kilometres from Dublin itself for the last 20 years, in the countryside, and just trekked in and out of the 'big smoke' every day," says Patrick.
"It is a beautiful country to live in, and if they could get the weather right, it would be just about perfect!" he laughs, but admits it was not the weather that forced the O'Duffys to make the biggest decision of their life.
"I think we both realised we had reached one of those crossroads. It was either do what we were doing for the next 15 or 20 years and that's the end of it - just going to work and doing the same thing each day - or look for something new. So we decided we would go for the life change.
"We actually had a look worldwide. We were looking for somewhere that ticked all the boxes - a place we liked, with a good climate and good economy, a place that was safe.
"We decided Australia was somewhere we had been before that we really liked. So we came for another visit, looking at it from a different perspective, rather than just a nice place for a holiday - and Australia was the answer."
Figuring that one big change deserved another, the couple spent their first six months here looking for the right business. Tyres was one part of the motor trade they hadn't previously experienced, so when the JAX Tyres at Maroochydore showed up as a possibility early in 2007, they quickly decided it was for them.
"It was a good business in an area we liked, so we decided to do it - and so far, so good. We're very happy with the way things are going."
Patrick believes the first year in a new business is about what he calls 'steadying the ship'. There's also the aspect of learning about a new community.
"We need to get to know the people in this area and the way everything works - and they need to get to know us too. I think people like us - at least I haven't heard any complaints!
"They are interested in why we've come here and they've been very welcoming. And we love the area - neither of us wanted to be in a big city again and Maroochydore is just right."
Patrick says there is no real difference doing business in Ireland to doing business in Australia, so he sees no need to change his approach.
"It's all about giving people good service and good value for money, and a bit of an extra personal touch. You're trying to be that little bit better than everyone else in the neighbourhood and if you get that right, people will always return.
"People don't spend much time in a tyre store, so it is important that you make that connection. They need to like you and the staff and the way you do business. They're spending their money with you and they're going to be happier about doing that, if they see a friendly face and get good service and know they can trust you."
Away from their commitment to making the new business work, Patrick and Anna are thoroughly enjoying their new lifestyle.
Customers who buy two tyres and a wheel alignment from Patrick and Anna's store are eligible for membership of the JAX Tyres Gold Club Tyre Maintenance Plan which offers huge savings on new tyres, tyre maintenance and servicing as well as a range of special offers.
JAX Tyres Maroochydore offers a variety of mechanical services such as brakes and suspension as well as supplying and fitting the world's leading tyre brands including BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Falken, Goodyear, Michelin, and Pirelli and a wide range of top-line alloy and steel wheels.