BUSINESS SUCCESS: Carol and Russell Tattam, owners of Valley Irrigation and Valley Steel and Fencing.
BUSINESS SUCCESS: Carol and Russell Tattam, owners of Valley Irrigation and Valley Steel and Fencing. Meg Bolton

Business grows at the request of locals

SITTING in her office at the top corner of the Western Drive industrial complex, Valley Irrigation owner Carol Tattam can't quite believe how much her business has grown.

When Valley Irrigation opened its doors in 1984, the business was a two-man operation aiming to provide service to the "prospering” Lockyer Valley farming community.

More than three decades on, service is still their main focus, but the range of resources and materials they offer blows her mind.

"The business just kept growing and growing,” Mrs Tattam said.

Mrs Tattam's husband, Russell, started the business at the Karl Complex on Eastern Drive - offering irrigation sales and pump repairs.

But in just two years the successful business outgrew the space and was relocated to the other side of Gatton.

More than 33 years on, the office is still in the same location, but the business has continued to expand and takes up most of the industrial precinct.

"I never thought it'd get this big,” Mrs Tattam said.

Mr Tattam looks after the senior sale staff, large irrigators, underground pumps and maintenance side of the business, while Mrs Tattam is in charge of administration and counter sales.

But the pair not only run one business: their diverse range of products quickly caused them to split the enterprise in two.

Mrs Tattam said in the earlier years the irrigation business started to stock steel and fencing materials to satisfy the needs of their clients, but demand quickly caused change.

By 2008, demand had become so high they opened Valley Steel and Fencing.

Mrs Tattam said the new business was just one example of the way the business diversified to meet the needs of their customers.

"There's not a lot more that we can expand into when it comes to irrigation and steel and fencing,” she said.

"But there's more avenues that we can expand into at the request of clients.”

In the wake of the Lockyer Landscaping Supplies closure, the Tattam's business has recently began to stock pavers to provide locals with materials close to home.

"Our focus is on servicing the local area with the products they required and expanding to do that,” Mrs Tattam said.

With no hardware shop in Gatton, Mrs Tattam said the aim was to stock Valley Steel and Fencing with basic hardware needs.

Along with offering more products, Mrs Tattam said the business had also diversified their service to adapt to the meet the needs of their clients.

"A long time ago it was irrigators, aluminium and your spray line, but now to conserve water they're doing more drip irrigation,” Mrs Tattam said.

"Because of the water situation the farmers are having to diversify so we are selling different lines to accommodate them.”

Mrs Tattam said the business worked closely with their suppliers to ensure the latest technology was available to local clients.

"Looking after your clients and customer service - that's the key to a successful business,” she said.

"Both businesses carry a huge range of products for not only the farmer but also for hobby farmers, the handyman and the home gardener.”

The business was acknowledged by the Lockyer Valley Chamber of Commerce for being a long standing successful business in the area.