Story behind one of Toowoomba's big business successes
MICK McDonald still can't believe how big Wideland Group has become in 11 short years.
The managing director of the Toowoomba trucking company, which last week added another four dealerships to its Queensland portfolio, began life as a simple start-up business in 2005.
At the time, Mr McDonald knew there was a market to capture, but was shocked to see how fast it expanded from 2010.
"I actually started the business in 2005, and it was just a start-up company. We delved initially into brokering used farm equipment," he said.
"Then we started with tractors, which was our first real franchise.
"Andrew Kibble bought 50% of the business in 2010 and that's when we bought Sunset Ag, which sold Case IH."
From there, Wideland Group expanded into a massive business, with more than half a dozen locations across Queensland and NSW covering cars, trucks, agriculture and construction vehicles.
The most recent additions were in Maryborough, Rockhampton, Gympie and Forest Glen.
Wideland Group's rise has run parallel with steady growth in truck sales, according to Mr McDonald.
He said the future of the industry was not in unsustainable booms, but consistent growth.
"Since the gas boom, truck markets have been lacklustre - there were a lot of used trucks that basically stopped being used and they had to find a home in a depressed market," he said.
"We believe and are hopeful that we're seeing some sustainable sales in that market.''
"What we're seeing is some fundamental sustainable growth there."
Mr McDonald said expanding into NSW also helped diversify its agriculture portfolio.
"The risk with agriculture is the seasons. Right now it's going great, but it wasn't always and it's based on how the season is going," he said.
"Trucks sales are something we've wanted to diversify, to ensure we have a sustainable business.
"(Expanding to NSW) allows us to move into a different weather zone, which gives us a break."
Regardless of where they did business, Mr McDonald said Toowoomba would remain the company's base of operations, citing Wellcamp airport as one of the major drivers behind their decision to stay put.
"The great thing about Toowoomba is if you believe you can do business here, you have so many fantastic people who want to push opportunities, like the Wagners and so on," he said.
"It's logistically a great place and it's well-serviced."