Neighbouring one of the world’s most exquisite natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef, Townsville is also the home to Cleveland Trade Centre, an independent local business situated in the industrial suburb of Bohle.
It was humble beginnings for Cleveland’s co-Directors and married couple Darrell and Karen Gibson, who originally met doing what they love, working in the timber industry for Australian timber supplier Hyne. Since then, this lovely pair have built up a dynamic hardware, timber and truss manufacturing operation in Queensland’s far north.
Today, the company supplies to builders and customers stretching across Queensland’s north to south including Mareeba, Mackay and even to the west of Julia Creek. A trade focused company, Cleveland prides itself on supplying customers with a ‘whole of house’ package.
Teamwork has always been a fundamental value for Darrell and Karen, both in life and in business. Long-standing members of their local community, Darrell and Karen were united in the fact that they both witnessed the beginnings of truss manufacturing in Queensland during their time with Hyne in the 1970s.
A TRUSS-WORTHY START
Hyne built their first truss plant in Townsville in 1967, a project that Darrell supervised and eventually managed, and it would turn out to be a role he would work in for nearly a decade.
The early days for Darrell at Hyne provided him with the fundamentals to continue on to his position as co-Director of the Cleveland Trade Centre.
Working together at Hyne was a stroke of luck for the two, as Darrell and Karen met on the job, striking up a partnership that continues to this day.
“It was an office romance, but hated him with a passion to begin with – but he grew on me!” Karen laughed.
“I was five years older than her and a lot more worldly,” Darrell explained with a chuckle.
The business was born following a buy-out of a franchise business in Townsville called Wayne Enterprises.
“It was kiln dried hardwood framing which was new to the industry at the time, and a guy here in Townsville had this little franchise business and he wanted out, so we bought him out,” Darrell put simply.
So with that, business life for the Gibsons was off and running, as a team – of course!
“Karen and I did everything, we drove the forklift, pulled the orders, did the wrapping, organised deliveries – the lot,” Darrell said.
Known as Gibson Enterprises up until 1978, the business was growing at a rapid pace.
Additional staff joined the team and soon enough the business was renamed to Cleveland Timbers Pty Ltd, and again in 2005 to what it is today, the Cleveland Trade Centre. Names that were inspired by the local bar and the fact that Townsville is located on Cleveland Bay.
CLEVELAND ’07 AND BEYOND
2007 was a busy year for Darrell, Karen and the entire Cleveland team. They decided to expand the business by building another storage shed for their trade centre, allowing them to keep the framing stocks dry at all times for their clients.
New equipment has also empowered the business to continue growing, including the addition of a cyber-saw, Klaisler roller table and a match point saw, all brought into the business to ensure demand can be met today and in the future.
It’s promising to hear that the business is doing well, however, Karen said that like any business in recent years, it wasn’t without its challenges.
“The business has, in the past eight years – like most areas in Australia – had some good years and some not so good.
“But we are confident that the same business that has allowed us to put bread on the table for the past 38 years will still be around for many years to come,” Karen said.
As Cleveland Trade Centre looks to the future, Darrell and Karen are confident that the legacy they have built for their family will continue.
“Our sons Brad and Ryan, and our daughter-in-law Lisa, are stepping up to the plate to soon take over management roles.
“We want to ensure that when we leave the business we can do so confidently, leaving us to enjoy the finer things in life!” they said.
The Gibsons are looking forward to more leisure time and travel ahead, and it’s fair to say, they deserve just that.