Tim Harley has found his jam. Literally.
As the owner of Quincey Jones Jelly Preserves Co and producer of 30 different lines of product, Tim has just received confirmation of a $60 000 federal grant to assist in the purchase of two fully programmable tilting mixing kettles and an automated labelling machine for his Moama business.
The new equipment will increase production and reduce workload without taking away the down-to-earth and natural appeal of the product Tim has spent the past four years building up.
And the good news couldn’t have come at a better time — despite the pressure of COVID-19 and the closing down of farmers’ markets, business is thriving.
Tim said online sales were now a pivotal growth area for business.
“Online orders have gone through the roof and we are receiving them from all over the country — from Perth, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
“We are receiving around 30 orders a day online.”
He said the beauty of online shopping meant city people could access quality product produced in the country from ingredients sourced direct from the farm gate.
And to continue to support his local custom, Tim has organised free local drop-off and a 10 per cent discount code at checkout.
“We have been helping those people isolating by knocking and dropping the product on the doorstep with no contact.”
When the crisis first hit Tim was thinking the worst and began cutting back staff hours.
“After three weeks what we were losing from farmers’ markets we had made up with online sales and, while we were always going to focus on that side of our business, COVID-19 has brought that forward.”
In fact, business has grown so much he is considering moving the production line out of the family garage and into a leased space.
“The new equipment will allow us increase production, expand lines and my wife and I won’t have to stay up to 1 am in the morning labelling our product by hand; the new machine will do 30 jars a minute.”
Tim said it really had been whirlwind growth for his business that began with a single table at Echuca Farmers’ Market just over four years ago.
He now produces more than 600 jars of jam, chutney and sauces a week.
“Pasta sauce has been a bestseller and moving into winter we are starting to see some really nice tasting citrus come on board, including lime from local avocado grower Andrew Crossman.
“As the season changes our current product line might come to an end but then we move into something else and next it will be apples and pears.”
Tim said sometimes it was important to back yourself.
“All it takes is a bit of faith and a lot of hard work. There are opportunities if you have the courage to back yourself and sometimes you just have to start.
“It also helps surrounding yourself with a good team and we must give credit to Stuart Florey who manages our team in the kitchen and always keeps the stoves humming.
“Without a strong team, we wouldn't be able to keep achieving great results.
“We are lucky to have terrific people working with us and we look forward to providing more job opportunities in the future.”
Tim's was just one of 200 projects supported through the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund.