Val: ‘Be prepared to work hard’
Hard yards, good staff for success
BUSINESS was simply done differently when Val Vaughan first bought her pharmacy.
Ms Vaughan and her late husband Colin were working in Brisbane in 1973, but desperately wanted to return to the country to start a family.
“I hated the city,” Ms Vaughan said.
“We just wanted to get back to the country.”
As Colin was a mechanic, they were looking to buy a garage in a country town, but struggled to find one for sale where Ms Vaughan could also find work as a pharmacist.
It was when a friend suggested they buy a pharmacy, and it just so happened one was for sale in Gatton. Ms Vaughan said the purchasing process wasn’t anything like what you’d expect today.
“There were 13 people that wanted to buy it and we were interviewed by the lady who was selling the pharmacy,” she said.
“Then she chose three people and we individually came for dinner.
“Three days later she call via telephone, personally, and said we had been chosen to buy the pharmacy.”
The business would become known as Vaughan’s Pharmacy, and the duo would become stalwarts of the community.
Their hard work and dedication paid off, and before long they had expanded and purchased other ventures in town including a shoe shop and an orchard.
Ms Vaughan said her late husband was also determined to do something to help the struggling main street – he bought a former garage and redeveloped the site into the complex where Spanos Supa IGA is now.
She put her success down, in part, to employing hard-working staff, who she described as “absolutely wonderful”.
“We have had the most amazing staff,” she said.
On June 7, Ms Vaughan will be recognised for her incredible contribution to business in Gatton at the Lockyer Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognition dinner.
She said she was “honoured”.
In a testament to the incredible relationship Ms Vaughan fostered with her employees, about a dozen former workers will attend the dinner to celebrate the award with her.
While business has certainly changed since Ms Vaughan first bought her pharmacy, her advice to business owners to achieve success was simple:
“I think being in business now is extremely hard,” she said.
“It still all boils down, basically, to try to give good service and have good staff. What more can you do?”
And for employees, she had a similar simple message.
”As an employee, I think you have to be prepared to work hard and give your time. It's very much give-and-take,” she said.
The recognition dinner will also recognise Valley Irrigation, Steel and Fencing in Gatton in the Long-term Business category, Bridgestone Select Plainland in New Business, Gatton Florist in Retail and Campbell Fabricating and Engineering at Lockrose in Trades.
❝ We have had the most amazing staff, everywhere we've had they've just been absolutely wonderful.
— Val Vaughan
LOCAL LEGEND: Val Vaughan purchased the local pharmacy in 1973, and since then has become a Gatton stalwart. She said she felt a sense of loyalty to the town which ‘gave us what we got’.