A pair of new trucks built by commercial vehicle manufacturer Isuzu have joined a fleet of 12 Isuzu trucks delivering the goods for Brisbane-based mobile greengrocery business Big Michael’s Fruit and Vegetables.
The business currently operates a mix of light- and medium-duty Isuzus, including four NPR 45-190s, two NNR 45-150s, two NQR 87-190s, two NLR 200s (NLR 45-150), one FRR 525 and one FVL 1400 (FVL 240-300).
Peter Marinos and his father, Michael – nicknamed Big Michael – founded Big Michael’s in 2009, straight after Peter finished a diploma in project management.
The spark for this entrepreneurial undertaking came while the younger Marino was still 9-10 studying.
Initially he had one customer and used his Dad’s ute to transport the produce, but the business soon grew to cover greater south-east Queensland, delivering to the likes of restaurants, hotels, bars, mine sites, childcare centres and retirement homes.
Marino bought his first truck, an FRR 525, from Brisbane Isuzu in Archerfield a year after starting the business and enlisted Bajair in Rocklea to supply and install the refrigerated body.
“I looked at other brands, but to be honest, I just liked the look of the Isuzus better,” said Marino, adding that he particularly appreciates the Bluetooth capabilities and Isuzu’s satellite navigation system that feature in his new NPR 45-190 and NQR 87-190 trucks.
Of the driving experience, Marino said the automated manual transmission (AMT) in the latest units is definitely a winner.
“I have three AMT trucks at the moment, and I definitely wouldn’t buy a manual again, AMT is the way to go,” he said.
The other drawcard for Marino is Isuzu’s unwavering reputation for reliability.
For a business where each truck does around 400 kilometres per day delivering high-quality produce to customers on time, Marino said reliability is everything.
“When you have a reliable and mobile fleet, you have a reliable and mobile business.
“And when you have that, you’re there first and always on time.
“That means customers are going to trust you and be loyal to you, and in such a competitive business, that’s important.”
Being the owner and operator of a business is never easy – and Marino knows this from experience.
“Basically, my role is finding solutions, fixing problems – wherever it is, whatever it may be,” he said.
A standard week for Marino involves working seven days and constantly taking phone orders and organising deliveries. He begins his day at around 1.30 am, checking the loads on the trucks and handling any emergency orders that come up.
It’s a demanding job, but one that’s made easier with the help of his team of about 25 employees and dedicated fleet of 12 Isuzu trucks.