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Will Waterford

Caloundra, SEQ

It took courage for Will Waterford to open up a garden and pet supply business during the global financial crisis and with big business competitors close by. Making Caloundra Garden and Pet Supplies a success took superior customer service, exceptional product knowledge and the creation of a community experience.

Hello, I'm Will Waterford from Caloundra Garden and Pet Supplies, and we're in Caloundra, Queensland, the sunny Sunshine Coast.

I would describe my business as a business that sells top quality products and service. We're a pet shop that sells pets and a garden shop that sells inspiration.

I had 20 years experience in a landscaping business that I started and grew, and after about 19 and a half years of that, my shoulders gave way, so I had to start something new. My something new was something that I thought, well, I may as well stick to the stuff I love doing, and the passion of gardening and the passion of pets worked really well for me.

Being your own boss is great. I mean, it gives you the flexibility of hours you want. You can swap and change, you don't have to clock on and you don't have to clock off. Being your own boss is also giving you that opportunity of watching something grow, and it's your own thing that grows. So it's your own shop, it's your own business.

I've followed people in the business that have the respect of the community, people that actually run a business and run it properly. It's not all about how much money you can make and how much you can turn over. If you get the respect of the community, you can make money.

Will had always been passionate about gardening and pets, so it was no surprise when he opened a gardening and pet supply business in 2012, despite uncertain financial times and strong, local competition. While his competitors can provide a wider range of products and afford more marketing, Caloundra Garden and Pet Supplies' customer base continues to grow. The business sets itself apart by personalising the customer experience - knowing their customers' names, their last purchases and the names of their pets. It creates a sense of community, backed by superior customer service and product knowledge.

The staff of Caloundra Garden and Pet Supplies have worked hard to beat the competition in an increasingly competitive sector. Will has hired the most knowledgeable, capable and friendly staff he could find to help him constantly innovate. With perseverance and enthusiasm, Will and his staff have created a community-based shopping experience, delivering old-fashioned service, a great range of quality products and a loyal and dedicated base of customers and real friends.

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