Monday, December 17, 2007

Garage sale season hits high note

Whether greed or hunger is the motivation, garage sales are the focus for hundreds of thousands or maybe even a seven-digit total of Aussies each weekend. As the Classie Corner clean-up continues, the image is an old ColTone guitar that the writer bought for $20 at a garage sale. Today’s post appeared last month in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

THE spring racing season fades into the pages of history as another big cup goes up for grabs.
In this marvellous race, stayers and sprinters alike compete for the title of Redlands garage sale capital.
Our columns get busier than the betting ring at Flemington as householders get efficient in the race to the finish on Christmas Day.
We are heading into the straight with only four editions of the Times before Christmas -- a hectic but fascinating time for garage sale addicts as bargains galore go on offer to raise cash for the festive season.

THE last time the Classie Corner Garage Sale Cup was awarded, Victoria Point, had a quarter of all advertised sales in the four weeks before Christmas to claim the title from a field of 11 Redland suburbs.
With 32 sales that festive season, Victoria Point was 13 ‘lengths’ ahead of runner-up Cleveland (19 sales). Alexandra Hills (17) was third.
In a trial for the 2007 month-long frenzy, last week’s Times featured 50 garage sales. And that statistic alone tells of the Redlands’dramatic growth.
The total of advertised sales in the entire four-week period of 2005 was 140, so the 2007 contest will be interesting.
Last week, Alex Hills and Birkdale tied on eight sales. Capalaba and Wellington Point were equal on seven. Cleveland had five, Thornlands four and Redland Bay and Victoria Point each had three.

CHRISTMAS preparations are getting a boost this year from a Times Free Classified Clearance for November, with free ads for single items under $150.
The clearance gave me the opportunity to hear the lovely musical Irish accent of a longtime Redland Bay resident, Irene, who advertised a four-burner barbecue with gas bottles for $150.
Irene is looking past Christmas to a new-year move to Redland Heights to be closer to her favourite swimming enclosure.
Irene migrated to the Redlands about 20 years ago after she visited family members about a decade earlier.
"It was such a beautiful area," she says. "I was taken in by all the fruit and vegetables and the farms. I came from Belfast and it was amazing to see all the fruit being grown."
Many of the fields now grow houses but Irene says she still enjoys the natural beauty during walks with her retriever, Milly.

THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Skills mix in recipe for business success

Image of Minjerribah Holiday Camp from You’ll get lots of references to the camp on a Google search.

TAKE the discipline of university degrees in marine science and computing technology, mix them with the culinary skills of a chef, add a generous dash of entrepreneurial nous and you have the recipe for an impressive business enterprise.
But still a lot more ingredients are going into the achievements of Redlands couple Laetitia and Stephen St Baker, who head a team of about 70 working in their businesses, Minjerribah Holiday Camp and Catering With Flair.
The success story spreads over beautiful Moreton Bay, from the holiday camp they established in former miner’s quarters on North Stradbroke 16 years ago, to the mainland ‘high society’ at premier social occasions that they cater for.

NEXT week will be particularly busy for Laetitia, catering for two of the highlights of the Christmas social calendar at Redlands Cultural Centre.
She says mayor Don Seccombe will host about 200 members of the business community on Wednesday and about 300 guests the next day at a party for the shire’s volunteers.
The St Bakers must look forward to a Christmas break themselves after a big year in which Catering With Flair featured at major functions including the shire’s chamber of commerce, retail, tourism and fashion awards.
The caterers themselves have had lots of award success, including in 2007 the firm’s second Australian Bridal Industry Award for best independent caterer and Laetitia’s award for meat and poultry in the Olivado Australian Chef Quest.

WHILE the catering business has impressed the Redlands movers and shakers, Minjerribah has continued its service to school communities from afar.
Laetitia says the camp, benefiting from the wide environmental diversity of North Stradbroke, hosts between 300 and 350 camps a year for primary school groups.
"The island has it all – surf and calm water, freshwater lakes, bush and heath, whale watching, kayaking and lots of activities," she says.
"It is so close to so many diverse habitats."
Marine science camps were a ‘must’. Laetitia qualified as a marine biologist before she became a chef. Stephen was a computer programmer before he became an entrepreneur.
Laetitia says geography camps have been a big success, partly because of the rehabilitation after sand mining.

THE couple has some exact criteria for operating one of the State’s most popular camps.
"The main things in a good school camp are: Plenty of good fresh food; everything most be clean and tidy; plenty of hot water; and exciting fun activities," she says.
Sharing just one aspect of the youngsters’ joy in discovery gives her probably the biggest kick.
The faces of the country kids who have never seen the ocean make all the work worthwhile, she says.
THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.