Kelly Goatham at Nextra Gympie has been crowned the region’s best worker under 25. Picture: Kristen Camp.
Kelly Goatham at Nextra Gympie has been crowned the region’s best worker under 25. Picture: Kristen Camp.

Gympie region’s top young worker shares her story

When Kelly Goatham found out she had won the title of best worker under 25 in Gympie she was “shocked” and “speechless”, attributing the outcome to her loyal customers.

After working at Nextra in Gympie Central for over six years and then deciding to purchase the business with her mum at just 23-years-0ld, Ms Goatham is a force to be reckoned with.

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“I spend a lot of time here and I joke to a lot of people that I may as well live here but I guess that’s because it’s my life now and it's always been something that I’ve been passionate about,” Ms Goatham said.

Going up against 17 other young workers, Ms Goatham said she wasn’t expecting to win, as many people brush retail employees aside.

“I have a lot of appreciation that they did recognise the time and effort that does go into what I do and I’m a bit speechless to be honest,” she said.

“There are a lot of hard working young people in the community and the whole perception that young people are lazy is really not the case.”

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Ms Goatham said her main goal as joint manager and owner of the store is to build a strong relationship with her customers.

“I see a lot of value in developing relationships with people so it's always been something that's been important to me,” she said.

“We get to know the people we are serving and if they're in every week we find out what their name is.”

Kelly Goatham – Nextra Gympie. Picture: Kristen Camp
Kelly Goatham – Nextra Gympie. Picture: Kristen Camp

Having worked as a junior at Nextra before moving away and then returning to buy the store, Ms Goatham said the last few years had been a “bit of a life surprise”.

“I had the opportunity to buy the store … it came at the right time and now its my livelihood,” she said.

But as anyone who has worked in the industry knows, retail isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

“Retail in itself can be really challenging to handle and the emotional toll that some people can have on you both in positive and negative lights, definitely has an impact,” Ms Goatham said.

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“A lot of things that I’ve done I’ve had to work my backside off for so it's not as though it's all been handed to me on a silver platter, it’s very much that I work for what I want.”

Ms Goatham thanked everyone who voted for her and the centre cleaner for nominating her.

Gympie Times


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