Brothers rely on country roots to take road to success
CALLING in sick was not an option for Peter O'Leary during his early years as a tyre fitter.
That was mainly because he slept in the same room as his boss and older brother John.
The siblings, now 47 and 56, have used their country-town values to build a thriving tyre business on the Sunshine Coast since arriving 20 years ago.
They grew up in Chinchilla, on the Western Downs, with John leaving school in 1975 at age 15 to become a tyre fitter.
He continued in the industry until age 24 when he was able to buy the shop he got his first job in.
Peter left school when he was 16 to work for his older brother.
They were both living in a sleep out at their parents' home at the time.
"I had no choice but to turn up to work,” Peter joked.
John grew the business in Chinchilla and Peter moved around Australia playing rugby league before John decided in 1996 to buy a business in Yandina.
Peter came back to run it with him and they have grown it from four staff members to 18 since.
They gathered with customers, staff, family members and a few industry dignitaries, including V8 Supercar driver Fabian Coulthard, at the Yandina base of their All Coast Tyre Solutions business on Saturday evening to mark two decades in the community.
John said he started sponsoring community events, teams, local schools and other organisations as soon as he arrived on the Coast.
It was something he had done in Chinchilla.
"It's about supporting those who need support,” John said.
"A community doesn't survive without people behind them.”
He said looking after staff members so they had the right tools and environment to look after customers was a priority.
"They are not just our customers, they are our friends,” Peter said.
John said treating customers like they were a family member was important.
"While we stay focused on doing that... we will give them good service,” John said.
They bought a Maroochydore outlet in April and plan to grow the business further.
"We are only half way through our plan,” John said.
"We want to be here celebrating 40 years.”
They said they had not had any fights in the time they had worked together.
"We wouldn't last 20 years in business if we didn't get along,” Peter said.
John said they supported each other and were supported by their wives Tracey and Kym.
He said it had helped them to success.
"The Sunshine Coast is just a big country town,” John said.
"If you don't build long term relationships with them (customers), you won't build a business.”