A brave new business world
ICE crystals carpeted paddocks all around Nanango as the Gympie business bus pulled into the BP servo for breakfast.
They had left Gympie Civic Centre just after 5am to make the potentially lucrative pilgrimage to the Surat Energy and Mining Expo, a strategic foot in the door for an organised Gympie approach to new clients in the mining and exploration sector.
The trip was a creative marketing initiative from the Gympie Chamber of Commerce, which set out to overcome the psychological barrier still posed by the Great Dividing Range.
Roadcraft executive director Sharlene Makin offered classroom hire, driver training and substantial training facilities for all kinds of machinery.
"We teach people to drive safely," she said, "and that is not just cars.
"I told people what we do and they said 'Come in, come in'.
"That happened a lot."
Scott Sutton, from Sutton Building Solutions, said his firm was looking at markets for the construction of temporary accommodation in the mining sector, in addition to its more traditional building role.
His firm built the new Rainbow Beach Community Centre and will soon be starting on the Nelson Reserve Sound Shell.
"I made a lot of contacts," said Jennifer McClelland of Advanced Personnel Management.
She was looking for work and career opportunities for her jobseeking clients.
"I did notice the Sunshine Coast Chamber of Commerce was here," Robert Waters of Gympie Welding Works said.
Gympie Regional Realty's Sally Garrahy said Gympie and surrounding areas had plenty of industrial and commercial land where mining and associated companies could build depots, turn-around areas, offices and processing works.
"We've got a lot of property that's been sitting there for some time and much of it could be developed."