04/06/2015 - 15:47

Family business stalwarts get nod

04/06/2015 - 15:47

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A Western Australian business more than a century old and a local player exporting internationally have cited innovation and perseverance as their secrets to success upon their induction to the Family Business Australia hall of fame today.

Family business stalwarts get nod
Charlie Dawson (left) and Ian Dawson are cultivating their family business.

A Western Australian business more than a century old and a local player exporting internationally have cited innovation and perseverance as their secrets to success upon their induction to the Family Business Australia hall of fame today.

Dawson’s Garden World, a fourth-generation family business, and Freedom Pools and Spas, which recently celebrated its 40th birthday, were recognised for their contribution to the community and business success.

They have joined an elite group of five hall of fame recipients - MG Kailis Group, Lionel Samson Sadleirs, Galvin Engineering, Leeuwin Estate and the Betts Group.

Dawson’s sells WA-grown plant stock, seeds and garden supplies with four stores across Perth.

It was founded in 1903, surviving the Great Depression and two world wars.

Charlie Dawson, who will one day take the reins of the business from his father, Ian, said the company had embraced what in hindsight seemed like an obvious concept to cut production costs almost four decades ago.

He said they were among the first companies to use plastic pots to grow fresh roses, enabling them to grow all year round and save on labour costs digging up the plants.

Retaining this internal supply chain proved to be a wise decision for the company, which faced intense competition from big competitors such as Bunnings from the start of this century.

Around 85 per cent of the products sold are grown internally, Mr Dawson said.

Freedom managing director Bob Biernat touted the company’s usage of marble in pool design, a product that remains popular to this day, as a key innovation.

The swimming pool manufacturer now exports to Dubai, Japan, Malaysia, England and Singapore.

Mr Biernat noted that with age, the balance of interest moves from business to family, although it was an uphill battle to engage the next generation in the business, he said.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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