Business is bouncing back for a Caboolture company which, after months battling through the COVID-19 shutdown, now has more than $1 million in contracts.
These include supplying the new Caboolture Police Headquarters, Lee Street State Special School in Caboolture and Beenleigh State High School learning centre.
Aspect Cabinetmakers Managing Director and Mandandanji man Steve Hatchman started the business in 2009 and now employs 25 people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
He says since reopening the showroom, he has been inundated by inquiries.
“A lot of people stayed at home (during the shutdown) and are now doing jobs they had been putting off,” he explains.
“We started reopening the showroom, by appointment only, and have not seen so many coming in for renovations. I’ve been up until 11.30 at night getting quotes ready.”
Steve says he still has “some concerns” over whether “things are opening up too soon” after the COVID-19 shut down, but he is prepared.
“I think everyone needs to stay vigilant,” he says. “I’m really cautious about on-site consultations and am still taking all precautions.”
Planning was the key
It was a similar approach that helped Aspect Cabinetmakers, before of the pandemic really took hold. “Back in January, we had concerns about what we were hearing from China, as we get hardware from there,” he recalls.
“There were also concerns over shipping from Europe, so we stocked up, but still didn’t realise COVID-19 would hit so hard. To be honest, we’ve been fortunate. We’ve been busy and have just got through it (the shutdown).
“We slowed, when the building industry slowed, and our work was mainly new homes and finishing commercial jobs.
“We were not eligible for Jobkeeper, so we sat down and really thought through the situation and how we would handle everything.
“Our staff were concerned, obviously, but they have been excellent. We have been careful and have not taken risks. We had someone working all day on cleaning. We are grateful to have been able to keep going and thank all levels of government and the community. We are looking positive and count ourselves as being fortunate for that.”
Working together pays off
Aspect Cabinetmakers, which designs, manufactures and installs residential and commercial projects all over Australia, is an example others can follow.
“It’s not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who benefit from successful Indigenous and non-Indigenous business partnerships,” he says. “Everyone stands to benefit if they are willing to participate.”
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford recently visited Aspect Cabinetmakers.
“Economies around the world are hurting in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. That’s why Queensland has a plan for economic recovery,” he says.
“One of the key aspects is supporting more jobs for Queenslanders and supporting local business.”
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