A growing wave of success
Tweed businessman set to thrive south of the border
A TWEED business owner is no longer contemplating relocating across the border and is instead ready to ride a growing wave of success.
A recipient of a $300,000 loan via a New South Wales Government-backed Jobs for NSW initiative, Tweed-born surfboard manufacturer and owner of The Glass Lab Adam Wessel said he could now remain south of the border.
Mr Wessel, who employs 13 staff and has just moved to a bigger factory on Industry Dr, Tweed Heads, said his priority was always to grow the business locally, despite Gold Coast City throwing “up a bone” to make the shift.
“I started making boards when I was 16 and slowly built the business to 40 boards per week,” he said.
“Now at 40 years old, I’m exporting to Queensland and Victoria, and once the factory is up and running, I’ll also export to New Zealand and Japan.”
Mr Wessel said the NSW Government loan would allow the business to increase production from 7000 boards to about 12,000 per year at its Tweed base, with plans to increase staff numbers to 30.
“Business is good and the flood gates are open because people know we now have a bigger facility and greater capacity, so we are picking up extra clients left, right and centre,” he said.
Minister for Regional NSW and Small Business John Barilaro visited the Tweed on Thursday to announce the initiative, which will target small and medium sized regional businesses like The Glass Lab.
Mr Barilaro said the three new loan products ranging from $200,000 to $1.2 million would provide emerging and growing businesses with capital to expand operations and drive job creation.
“This new suite of loan products will be a major boost to fast-growth businesses in regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
“This will give NSW businesses the greatest potential to succeed by providing targeted loans across each stage of the business growth cycle.”
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said the loans were aimed at innovative businesses that showed real potential.
He said Mr Wessel could now double the capacity of his home-grown business, which in turn would create more jobs for the Tweed.
“Any time a business expands, there’s going to be a cash flow issue.
“This just gets them over that hurdle and stops them having to go to financial institutions,” Mr Provest said.
“A key component here is that surfing is a big industry – this comes on the back of the announcement last week of $5.5 million for the upgrade of Surfing Australia – and it’ll be supported, so that encourages people from the surfing world to come and have a career.”
Mr Wessel recently inducted the first group of TAFE apprentices following a pilot program to make surfboard shaping a qualified trade through the NSW Department of Industry.
He said providing sustainable jobs fitted in with his long-term aim for the industry.
“I just wanted to create an environment that’s safe for workers and the environment,” Mr Wessel said.
“It’s been a backyard cottage industry – I wanted to legitimise it (and) provide longevity and enjoyment for workers.”
SHAPING FOR SUCCESS: Member for Tweed Geoff Provest, The Glass Lab owner Adam Wessel and Minister for Regional NSW and Small Business John Barilaro inspect a newly manufactured surfboard.