Beaurepaires franchise owner, Ron Visser, considers his career in around tyres for over 25 years. His journey has been a success story highlighted by balancing work life with family.
I was asked the other day a question from number one (of three) granddaughters who is 13 going on 21 and it went like this, “Opa (family name for granddad) why do you spend soooo much time at work?” I pondered this for a moment and replied “Honey, I have a wife, three daughters, three female ponies, three female chooks, two female dogs and a Budgie called Arnold who is laying eggs, so I go to work for some me time.” She laughed and said I was a little crazy but funny. Fair call I thought. But, and there is always a but, I LOVE MY WORK!
I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney, the fourth child of immigrant parents and first born in Australia. Growing up my elder brothers worked as mechanics and one worked for Brabham Ford. This is where I was exposed personally to a then reasonably young Sir Jack Brabham, and my love for the motor vehicle had started. Those big race tyres got me. After some years of being allowed to “hang around” motorsport our family moved to regional NSW and purchased a truck stop as a franchise and we all worked in the business either pumping fuel, working in the kitchen of the roadhouse or for me mostly in the Lube bay, fixing cars, trucks or anything mechanical I could get at.
Investing in a small fleet of trucks to transport our fuels, I again was involved in tyres, my dad along with my three brothers were keen on motorsport so we started a race team and had some minor local successes, but I craved more and left for the city to pursue this passion.
Working at General Motors Dealership to complete my apprenticeship, I loved this getting paid to work and mostly on race cars, which itself was a bit of an in-house joke as I drove a 1969 GT Falcon that I was made to park out back. After hours I would work freelance on various race cars from local street racers through to touring cars and drag cars, for the likes of Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat and Victor Bray – to name a few.
Family soon came along and I chose a career path to focus on family and a future I pondered for a while. Out jogging one early morning I stopped to chat to a fellow at a building site close to home. I inquired as to what they were building. After a very long chat with the actual owner who turned out to be a very clever mentor to me, as he was building Australia’s Largest retail tyre store. Two weeks later I was employed and my career in tyres for real had started. The store grew dramatically and after 18 months was sold back from franchise to corporate. Tyres became my world for the next 25 years with progression through corporate in roles such as store manager, state auto manager then state marketing manager in the retreading division. Seeing and working with the industry through change and innovation, new marketing and tyre manufacturing techniques, and franchise system ring rollouts, transport and tyres were everything to me.
During these years my family grew and now with three daughters all of which were athletic, and chose netball as their sport. They all rose to various levels of competition. My eldest achieved representative level, middle daughter state representative level and youngest daughter made it to Acadamy level, which meant dad got to go to lots of games. The general consensus of the time was you’re there any way so you can coach. I did, achieving national level accreditation which led to a position on a club committee then a regional committee then a position on the netball Queensland Board of Directors and a position as an advisor for the steering committee for facilities for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, still while working and studying for various qualifications such as Business Management, Sales and Marketing and a little Constitutional Law. Coaching and mentoring netballers state wide, I was appointed as chair for the WNBL QLD Brisbane team that required some direction as well, working with both State Government departments and local councils.
My wife, partner and mentor, Keryn, supported me in so many ways throughout my endeavours and we decided that as the girls had grown up and gone in their own way, (eldest now married, two daughters of her own and a career as PA To Commodore of Brisbane Cruising Yacht Club and runs the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race), middle daughter married, one daughter with a career in Freight Management at Mainfreight Logistics) and the youngest international catwalk model (now a proud flight officer in the Australian Air Force).
We found that many employers loved to have access to the knowledge and experience that a 25+ year tyre guy could bring and once attained this then chose to move on. My personal mentor and wife Keryn and I thought there must be a better way to utilise this experience, then it came to us clearly, a Beaurepaires Franchise.
Beaurpaires Franchise training from the other side was a learning curve for me. My previous experience was helpful but not all I needed. Keryn, my wife, being an experienced bookeeper, found it very encompassing and took up where I lacked and working as a team alongside the most comprehensive induction system I have ever seen, graduated with excitement.
Along with our good friend and Manager Lee Dorricott, who handles the daily store operations, Keryn who has the ‘behind the scenes accounting’ down pat and me filling in the gaps. Now open, we were not prepared for the hectic pace of “our” store. But we were absolutely committed to our own “customer service 101” system by treating customers as we would like to be treated. And we soon found that it works. Instilling this in our staff, all of whom reside in our local area and are considered family members, we grew our store from three staff and a manager to a total of nine. The original business served its customers well and we invested in a complete refurbishment. It’s now a modern facility with bold new paint work and state of the art signage with modernised workshop facilities and equipment.
The concept of “101 service” has brought us much return through increased sales and extended client base but most important a reputation of service excellence day and night 24/7, which has and continues to be, recognised through our clients and local and state business awards. Beenleigh is a very underestimated area with an extremely large commercial district and is ever growing and we are proud to grow alongside.
To maintain a top three level of store achievement for our first three years of trading is an indication that our plan is true and a reflection of the effort of our staff. The support from our partners is never understated. Our success is theirs.
Keryn and I have a passion to support our local community groups, schools and rising stars and we do this in many ways through junior sporting clubs, local school fundraisers, charity fund raising and rising stars in motor sports and allows us to stay connected and return our success to assist future stars. This year we are proud to be personally supporting a 3rd generation motor sport junior in Jet Johnson the son of Steven Johnson and the grandson of the legendary Dick Johnson.
Keryn and I are never settled on where we are as a business, so we constantly look for improvement and innovation. It’s who we are and what we do.
Ron Visser is the owner of the Beaurepaires Beenleigh outlet which he runs alongside his wife Keryn. He has extensive experience as a mechanic, service manager and development manager in and around the tyre and automative retail industry. He is passionate about motorsport, helping support pathways for young sports talent and his 1969 Mustang.
Kings Transport started out in the taxi truck business and can now boast a fleet of 1500 company-owned and sub-contracted pieces of equipment – placing it right in the middle between too small to invest and too big to move, as Prime Mover found.