Tree change wins Mike over
WHEN Michael Kebbell and his wife noticed their children were glued to screens, dependant on the internet 24 hours a day, the pair knew it was time to make some changes.
Mr Kebbell and his family had been living on the Gold Coast and moved to Hatton Vale eight years ago to a property 10 times the size of what they were used to.
"We came up here for the land, for the space, so we could kick a footy with the boys,” he said.
"We can enjoy more of a relaxed lifestyle here. My wife and I can have friends around and the kids can put up a tent in the backyard with friends and we won't get in each other's way.”
After running a successful Bridgestone Tyre and Auto Service in Redbank Plains, Mr Kebbell decided to open one closer to home.
"Everyone is so friendly here,” he said.
"They don't even know you from a bar of soap but they give you a wave ... it's a really nice country feel.”
The business, which has been open for a year and a half, specialises in maintaining cars and trucks, fitting tyres and providing wheel alignments.
"We do tyres and mechanical repairs, log book servicing, diagnostics, that sort of stuff,” Mr Kebbell said.
Located in Plainland, the business is surrounded by new development.
Mr Kebbell said he believed the changes would provide employment opportunities to the community but worried it could hurt local businesses.
He said he and other local business owners often sponsored local schools and sports clubs and that, if profits fell, their capacity to donate could suffer.
"I love to give back to the community because I live here,” he said.
"I like to be able to sponsor the places where my kids go.”
The technology the team used to provide the wheel alignments was a source of pride for Mr Kebbell.
"I'm really proud of our wheel alignment machine,” he said.
"It's the best one you can get. The most expensive too, unfortunately.”
He said the tool was engineered by Hunter Engineering and was more than worth the price tag for the results.
The machine is capable of giving the car information about its wheel alignment, allowing the car to readjust lane-change-assist cameras.
"It would be Brisbane or the Gold Coast or maybe Ipswich before you'd find another one like it,” he said.
"Because we do a lot more tyres here than in Redbank, we've gone and invested to get the better machine for here.”
His second job ever was as a tyre-fitter, a role that would bloom into a lifelong career.
"I've been doing this for over 20 years so it's my comfort zone, I understand it, I know it,” he said.
"Apart from learning the business side of it, I didn't have to learn the industry.”
Mr Kebbell said he fit in with the Lockyer Valley demographic.
"People out here are car fanatics,” he said.
"We love cars. A lot of the guys have sheds with some amazing cars in them.
"At Redbank it's like a business transaction. Whereas out here it's friendly. It's a nice atmosphere for everyone.”
Though Bridgestone Plainland is located by itself on Endeavour Way, it hasn't escaped the public eye.
The shop is set to be acknowledged at the Lockyer Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognition dinner on June7.
Mr Kebbell was over the moon to be nominated.
"I'm so proud, it shows we're doing the right thing,” he said.
"Nomination doesn't just help us get the name out there but tells us we need to just keep doing what we're doing.”