News

Innovation key to big success for local small business

EXPANDING SERVICES: Wade Kent from Ballina’s Blue Sky Outdoor.
EXPANDING SERVICES: Wade Kent from Ballina’s Blue Sky Outdoor. The Northern Star

TWO innovative small regional businesses, Ballina's Blue Sky Outdoor and the Byron Beach Cafe, have been recognised for their success by being shortlisted in the 2014 Australian Small Business Champion Awards.

Blue Sky Outdoor owner Wade Kent said the formula for his camping gear retailer was as much about the fundamentals as innovation.

"We've made a big emphasis over the last few years to try to have the best customer service that we can," he said.

Blue Sky's listing in the national awards didn't come out of the blue. Mr Kent has also worked hard to establish an "e-presence" and recently moved to larger premises in West Ballina.

"We've spent quite a bit of time and energy getting our online presence right, to try to grow the online store," Mr Wade said.

"The retail environment has been very challenging over the last few years, especially with the growth of online business."

In Blue Sky's case, it has been about testing innovative new lines that fit with an outdoor brand, such as a range of workwear and archery products, and a closer focus on watersports.

Perhaps the business's most innovative step was to enter the tourism market, this month introducing kayak tours following years of customer requests.

Mr Kent sees a clear link between selling outdoor gear and providing experiences to go with it, particularly in a town surrounded by stunning waterscapes.

"We've had lots of inquiries and bookings," he said.

Over in Byron, the Byron Beach Cafe, under the ownership of Ben and Belinda Kirkwood since 2007, has continued to take out awards from NSW Tourism and now has national hopes.

The key to its formula is its multi-functionality, transforming from a casual coffee and breakfast cafe - with a separate takeaway kiosk - in the daytime to a destination restaurant as the sun sets over Mt Warning.

With a venue right on the beach, the cafe has taken advantage of its site to host an increasing number of weddings and corporate events.

Add to that a catering arm and the venue is juggling several profit lines and showcasing its brand at the same time.

Topics:  business innovation



Rain dampens bushfire battle

An aerial photo of the Evans Head bushfire  at 9am, Monday, December 5. this morning.

The rain is proving more of a hindrance then help

Aussie Lyme sufferers fear being branded crazy

Borrelia burgdorferi - lyme disease bacteria.

Lyme disease patients stigmatized because of "medical ego”

Telstra tower will give crappy reception: Resident

ANGER: Ellie Ryan and her daughter Lydia will live just 70m from the planned 30m high tower at 1555 Nimbin Rd, Koonorigan.

Telstra accused of 'cheap' plan to build a tower in valley

Local Partners

$31,500 to help service 'save by soaring on angel wings'

A CASINO family have channelled their grief of losing their young daughter into generosity to help a vital service "save by soaring on angel wings”.


Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Local acts to hit the stage at Falls Byron

Angie Jeann and Merryn Boller watch Falls Director Brandon Saul and GM of Top Shop Aaron Montano strum a few tunes.

Artists from across the Northern rivers set to go on stage

Doco tells the story of Aussie surfboard pioneers

Gordon Woods (far right) in a 1966 ad for his surf shop. He is the subject of a documentary about the Brookvale Mafia airing on Foxtel.

THE Brookvale six were united in the love of their craft.

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper happy as baby looms

Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper are in an "extremely happy place"

Brad Pitt bids to keep custody battle private

Brad Pitt will go to court to keep his custody battle private

Sia has split from her husband

Sia has split from her husband Erik Anders Lang.

Amy Schumer thanks Barbie trolls for hateful comments

Amy Schumer is in the lead role for the new Barbie movie

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!