Sunday, March 09, 2014

Forget cyberspace and get down to business on ground

Image: Bob Platz's notice seeking a tenant.

THE recent focus has been on telecommunication and internet services as essential for Redlands business growth but cyberspace surely comes second to useful, efficient and comfortable space in a good location on the ground. That premise led me to chat this week with Bob Platz who advertised a 155 square metre building for rent in Russell Street, Cleveland, touting its suitability for retail, wholesale, workshop or storage. Bob has had a long association with the Redlands as the proprietor of Bayside Air Conditioning after he drove down from Dalby in 1990 with his wife Lorna and their teenage children Martin and Angela to settle at Cleveland. Bob wasn't unhappy about the shift as his earliest memories of the bayside suburbs included his grandfather, Sam Clelland, then running a boarding house on the site of the existing Manly Hotel, giving him an half-penny to buy a sherbert from a nearby shop. This time, a lot more than a lolly prompted the trip. Bob had taken up a major contract with the Queensland Railways and more big jobs were to follow.
Eventually Bob sold his longtime Dalby business, Darling Downs Air Conditioning, to centralise his equipment on the bayside and since 2007 he has operated from the Russell Street complex which includes the advertised rental space. Bob says he often visited the complex over the years as one of his component manufacturers was based there. "I dropped in one day after there was a fire in one of the sheds," he said. "The gentleman who owned the place was waiting for the plumbers to measure the roof because it had to be replaced. "I walked over to say 'gooday' and had a chat; I gave him my card and said to give me a call if he ever wanted to sell." Less than two months later the deal was finalised, Bob says. On the day after they had met, the owner had fallen from a ladder while inspecting the roof, and decided to sell the property.
There's a lot of activity around the complex at present as Bob said Bayside Air Conditioning was gearing up for two big jobs – a chiller installation for a Pinkenba warehouse and another system for the National Archives at Cannon Hill. Although Longreach-born Bob Platz enjoys the bayside lifestyle, he says Dalby still drags on his heartstrings, mainly because of the friendliness of Queensland country people. "You don't just have one friend in the country," he says. "You live there for 50 years and you have 50 friends or more." Bob gets back to Dalby at least "a couple of times a year".
This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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