Topics:  business, charlie horne, gympie, refrigeration, warehouse

Charlie keeps it cool and fresh with new warehouse

Charlie Horne in the driver's seat in his new Cooloola foods building.
Charlie Horne in the driver's seat in his new Cooloola foods building. Renee Pilcher

NOT quite as big as Alaska, but nearly as cold in places, Charlie Horne's new food warehouse is a one-building revolution for Gympie's food industry.

The huge new warehouse, in Bunworth Park off Brisbane Rd, is the child of inspiration and optimism, a combination that has always been the foundation of Mr Horne's business approach.

From one extreme to the other, the business he operates with his wife Annette, is moving right now from its notoriously crowded and busy Bruce Hwy headquarters to a new warehouse space which promises big opportunities for Gympie and Queensland.

"We open on Monday, but no pressure," he said yesterday as he drove the forklift around the massive new warehouse, which includes drive-in fridges and freezers that are each larger than his old premises.

"We can fit 122 pallets in the fridge - that's 122 tonnes," he said of the cool room, 8m high and about 11m long by 10m wide.

"The freezer is so big it will take two weeks to get down to an operating temperature of minus 18 to 20 degrees."

That is freezer Number One.

The second freezer is as big as the fridge and the first freezer combined.

It is all part of Mr Horne's long running vision to turn Gympie into a food supply hub for Brisbane and much of regional Queensland, easily outdoing competing facilities on the Sunshine Coast.

"A truck from Rockhampton can get to Gympie and back in one trip and do it legally," he said.

"They can't drive to Brisbane and back, because it takes so long in the traffic."

Cooled by environmentally friendly carbon dioxide (at minus 58.9 degrees), the whole facility is state of the art.

"We want to have our little business, but make space available to others," he said.

Trucks can back up to loading bays where inflatable gaskets keep cold air in, while forklifts load the fridge.



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