Knocking down walls
MOSSMAN Computer and Printing has expanded their space by adding the shop next door. Knocking a hole in the wall to create a new area for business clients and workshop is typical of the continuing growth phase that owners Justin and Michelle Van Dyk have been enjoying these past few years.
It seems they can’t help but pick winners when it comes to new ideas for their business.
They see opportunities that fit with their business, snap them up and now, says Justin, ‘‘we sort of cover everything’’.
The former Adelaide couple moved up to FNQ about 10 years ago. Justin had been a store manager for a major retail chain and badly wanted a change by the time the decision was made to move up north.
With some training under his belt he was ready to set up a mobile computer servicing business. It met success quickly, though at first the local market was a bit diffident about how and when to use this new service. ‘‘They seemed to think it might be expensive,’’ says Justin, ‘‘so we’d go around there, sit down and have a coffee and a talk, and then they’d see it would be OK.’’
Hot demand for computer repairs saw the couple take a small space - just a desk really - out the back of their current premises on Mossman’s main street a couple of years ago. ‘‘It was just a pick up and drop off point for the computer repairs,’’ says Justin. ‘‘But within a month we had so much business that we needed more space and the other tenant decided we were doing the most business and it was more suitable for her to work from home, so we ended up with the whole shop.’’
They they swooped on a photocopier that was up for sale. It proved an instant winner.
Then the Kodak shop closed down. Justin got two of the photo printing machines - in bad shape - and made them into one good one. He discovered strong demand for this service and it’s a side that keeps growing. So they added passport photos and that’s boomed.
Full of ideas, the Van Dyks came up with their own Santa Claus at Christmas - ‘‘Mossman hasn’t got one’’ - for kids and others to have their photo taken with. The customer ends up with a Christmans bauble with their photo with Santa. ‘‘It’s not just kids,’’ says Justin. ‘‘Some of them even sit their dogs on Santa’s lap. We’ll do it again this year!’’
Then someone else departed the industry and so the Van Dyks picked up a dye sublimation unit - it prints images onto practically anything, such as stubbie holders, mugs and so on.
They also bought a vinyl cutter which means they can do signage, and they do have some large clients for that side of the business, doing such things as signage on tour buses. (That bit’s coming along so well that Michelle is going to have graphic design training). Lately they’ve taken on mobile phone screen repairs.
Meanwhile the computer repairs side has grown to the point where they were tripping over each other - there are four sub-contract workers too - and they needed more space.
In their new space next door the Van Dyks have set up what is basically a business hub. Many clients like to use the in-shop computers to do their books and so on, happy in the knowledge that if they have a problem help is right at hand - they just have to sing out. ‘‘They’ve discovered that all the little business services, we can do all that for them,’’ says Michelle. ‘‘Bang, bang, all done.’’
So it hasn’t all been planned but the enterprising pair have seen the opportunities and grabbed them. ‘‘Everything’s just moved on progressively,’’ says Justin. ‘‘ We built it around what people have been wanting. All these opportunities just keep springing up and we take them.
‘‘You can’t just do one thing in a small town; you can’t be stuck on one idea. You have to adapt and be flexible.’’
In their spare time Michelle works with Fire and Rescue Rural Qld (firefighter, casual trainer, crew leader and volunteer community educator; she was awarded an Australia Day Medal in 2011).
Mossman Computer and Printing’s expanded premises and (inset) Michelle and Justin Van Dyk