Getting a handle on business
IT WAS Grafton's supply network, a "wonderful community" and employment needs that helped Kruger Enterprises make its decision to relocate to South Grafton.
Krugers is the latest Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry member.
The company was established in Ipswich in 1904.
Mary and Paul Holford bought the business in 1998 and, when the lease ran out a couple of years ago, decided to move closer to their suppliers and chose Grafton.
"The northern NSW spotted gum is widely respected as a wood worldwide and we use it in our tool handle manufacturing," Mary said.
Their move to Grafton was encouraged with a grant from NSW Investment and Industry, and they bought Porter's operational factory in the South Grafton industrial estate, and also the mill located next door.
"This was something we had to outsource in Ipswich, so it was a huge bonus for us," Mary said.
Presently they operate with a staff of 14 people plus another five in the mill. They also work with support organisations such as the Orara and Caringa industries that undertake contract packing and some assembling and are investigating other opportunities with local community groups and organisations.
"It hasn't been smooth sailing - we needed to upgrade the electrical supply, install waste water systems and build a new shed to accommodate our machinery," Mary said.
"This meant we had to close for some time.
"But once we get past this establishment phase, we anticipate our purchases and expenditure will provide in the region of $2million a year in direct spend into the Grafton area. We are already forming good relationships with local suppliers and service agents."
Mary is a former teacher, so has a passion for learning.
"I would love to see young people not only work but undertake further studies while with us," she said. "Once we are able to settle the business I anticipate forming relationships with training organisations to give our employees the benefit of some certification.
"We worked closely with the community and certain organisations in Ipswich, and I hope that we can do more here in the near future."