General manager at the new Hi-Way 1 store, Paul Williamson in front of the new purpose-built building.
General manager at the new Hi-Way 1 store, Paul Williamson in front of the new purpose-built building. Donna Jones

New development for Hi-Way 1 on southern outskirts of Gympie

WHEN it comes to business opportunities, Dennis Jurss, owner of Hi-Way 1 truck sales, service and repairs, sure knows how to pick them.

In 2016, an opportunity presented itself to sell half of his eight sites to Wideland Trucks.

In February of last year, when Mr Jurss had secured deals with three other companies to purchase his three most northern branches - Townsville, Cairns and Mackay - he decided to retain the Gympie store, but downsize it by no longer dealing in new truck sales.

This meant the former Gympie site, with its highway frontage, was too much.

Soon, the opportunity presented itself to sell the former Gympie site and build a purpose-built complex just across the road on land Mr Jurss already owned.

The brand new building took three months to erect although there was a minor hold-up with site approval.

"We had initially planned to be in by May this year,” Hi-Way 1 general manager Paul Williamson said.

As is turned out the build started in June and finishee in September.

"The main reason we moved was because Dennis was approached to buy the site,” he said.

While Mr Williamson remained tight lipped about the purchaser and the cost of the new building, he said the new building was much better suited to the business.

"We deal in used truck sales, services and spares,” he said. "As most of our trucks are sold via the internet, we don't need highway frontage and we didn't need the larger, older facility and a huge yard.

"This was a chance to purpose build and modernise.”

Part of the build included constructing a new workshop, but they also chose to construct a second workshop for their neighbour, Vanderfield Gympie, which specialises in lawn tractors and ride-on mowers.

Mr Williamson said the downsize would not adversely affect the services Hi-Way 1 currently offers, nor has it meant employees have lost their positions.

"We still offer the same great service and we're still fully authorised to service and repair Hino, Iveco, Western Star and all other brands. We've even put on another staff member.”

A LITTLE ABOUT DENNIS JURSS

  • Mr Jurss started Hi-Way 1 in 2000, after the deregulation of the dairy industry.
  • Over the course of 16 years, he built the business up to eight sites from the Sunshine Coast to Cairns.
  • He and his company have long been involved with the Gympie community and over the years, have supported various events including the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and the Rainbow Beach Surf Lifesaving Club to name only two.
  • In 1984, Mr Jurss co-ordinated the third Gympie Music Muster (called the Commonwealth Bank Country Music Muster) at Thornside, Widgee. This event was so popular that year, it had to be moved to the current site at Amamoor Creek State Forest the following year because it had grown too big for Widgee.
  • He was also president of the Mary Valley Heritage Railway for more than a decade up until 2007.
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