If there was anything Gregory Hard has learnt in his time in the rural merchandise business it’s that a lot can change in two years.
As manager and co-owner of Esperance Rural Supplies in Southern WA, Mr Hard has spent the last few years making improvements to his business, particularly in chemical safety.
His efforts were recognised after winning this month’s Agsafe Achievers Award.
He and his wife bought the small CRT branded premises in town two years ago.
Since then, the couple have more than tripled their business by servicing big cereal and livestock farms in the region.
Mr Hard said they’ve also made major improvements to their chemical safety requirements.
“We’ve grown the business 6-fold since those early days. We cover a big area which has a 150km radius east, west and north of where we are, which includes about 300 farmers,” he said.
“To help with demand, we’ve installed a new chemical shed which is bunded and all up to scratch. We’ve also revamped the yard. The whole place just looks more professional.”
Mr Hard said it was important for his business to be accredited and his staff trained with Agsafe.
“Agvet chemical merchandise accounts for 75% of our business,” he said. “We know we have to be accredited to show we’re doing things properly and professionally.”
“It is important that your staff know what they’re selling in this day and age.
“Doesn’t matter if chemicals are a lot safer or are in bigger amounts, you still have to do the right thing. You need to be very responsible for the way you sell it and make sure it’s going to the correct people.”
Western Australia Agsafe Facilitator Bevan Henderson said the team at Esperance Rural Supplies have turned things around.
“In their last assessment in May they received recommendations with almost all passes,” Mr Henderson said. “The team have improved their yard structure and chemical storage.”
“They have also established a drumMUSTER collection for customers’ empty agvet chemical containers which staff keep very well organised.”
Mr Hard said the success of the business was largely due his staff.
“Quality staff is key,” he said. “If you don’t have quality staff you can’t run a successful business.”