Whereas some boots are made for strolling, these on the ft of Mark MacKenzie are firmly planted on Wagga floor.
The previous travelling suitcase salesman has been a neighborhood iconic enterprise id for greater than 4 many years, when, from the bottom up, he began his self-styled and named clothes retailer.
Now, after 45 years of operation Mark is retiring from Mark Anthony Clothes Firm with the declare of being Wagga’s longest serving small enterprise owner-operator, and one of many oldest clothes outlets within the area.
Nevertheless, Mark mentioned “if it weren’t for the individuals round me – my group of household and associates – my enterprise would not have survived the primary 12 months”.
“I had no thought what I used to be moving into, beginning a enterprise from scratch,” he mentioned.
“I used to be working for Dalco Businesses as a salesman promoting airport baggage to retailers throughout NSW, however I used to be sick of travelling from city to city and actually needed to set down roots at dwelling – so I took the plunge.”
Slightly than shopping for a longtime enterprise, the then 20-year-old began from the bottom up.
“There have been numerous sacrifices – and never only for me. Once I first began up, I hustled – I labored three different jobs and I lived at dwelling with my dad and mom.”
Whereas sunlight hours have been spent establishing the brand new shopfront, evenings and weekends have been a mixture of ready tables on the Business Resort, shifts as a cleaner and dealing in a service station. The additional earnings ensured the enterprise basis was strong.
Past its launch in 1977 and thru the next many years, Mark’s enterprise survived – and even thrived – throughout financial recessions, digital disruptions, pandemics and extra. The important thing, he mentioned, was his group.
“Each time I have been examined, individuals have stepped in and supported me,” he mentioned.
“I lived at dwelling with my dad and mom after I first began the store, my household, my associates, different small enterprise house owners and my terrific workers have helped with every part from renovations to relocations, studying digital advertising and so many others.
“They’re all a part of my enterprise story and behind its success. That is why this place will all the time have a chunk of my coronary heart and of our household’s – so many recollections have been made right here.”
Whereas the enterprise shall be shifting into a brand new set of fingers – with numerous events contemplating shopping for the shop – the Wagga enterprise stalwart shouldn’t be fairly prepared to hold up his boots.
“I anticipate that I shall be working alongside the brand new house owners for so long as they want me,” he mentioned.
“I am going to make a sluggish exit – and I am wanting ahead to seeing the brand new and thrilling concepts the brand new proprietor will carry to Mark Anthony’s Clothes.”
Marks high enterprise suggestions
With a number of Chamber of Commerce accolades underneath his belt – alongside his many years of operation – the small enterprise champion is nicely positioned to advise on tips on how to meet challenges in right this moment’s enterprise world.
Mark advises enterprise start-ups to give attention to establishing a powerful basis: “Take one step at a time, give attention to the right here and now, and attempt to have earnings from different sources.”
“Lots of people rush in, put all their eggs in a single basket and tackle an excessive amount of directly. It is extra sustainable to start out small and that approach because the enterprise grows to fulfill what the shopper desires it is a lot simpler to pivot or adapt.”
Delight additionally must be put to the aspect when working to start out and develop a enterprise, Mark mentioned: “encompass your corporation and your self with the proper individuals.
Reinvention and a readiness to shift what and the way you’re promoting is essential.
– Mark MacKenzie
“Be ready to hustle and in addition to just accept assist – together with recommendation or sensible help.”
Wagga Enterprise Chamber supervisor Serena Hardwick mentioned domestically owned companies have been necessary for cities of all sizes.
“Domestically owned companies usually have distinctive choices that set cities and areas aside. And once we select native companies, we’re selecting alternatives to maintain cash flowing by our group,” she mentioned.
A person of concepts, together with considered one of a Wagga CBD tram vacationer attraction, Mark mentioned no profitable enterprise ever ends because it begins. Innovation, reinvention and embracing tides of change are key to survival.
“Lots of people relaxation on their laurels after which they surprise why they’re struggling. Reinvention and a readiness to shift what and the way you’re promoting is essential,” he mentioned.
Being unafraid of change – from introducing males’s pink shirts, to diversifying clothes traces, introducing equipment, working enjoyable campaigns and a foray into the world of digital advertising – has made the enterprise capable of stand the take a look at of time. When innovating, he mentioned, placing the shopper on the centre of your planning is what is going to set one enterprise other than one other.
“In any case, the shopper is our enterprise.”
First mate’s affect
NAVIGATOR and first mate Cherie Hubbard has labored with Mark Anthony Clothes Firm since 1996.
Greater than 1 / 4 of a century and two kids later, she stays an integral a part of the enterprise and an in depth household pal of the MacKenzie household.
“It was 26 years in the past – so arduous to imagine it was that way back – that I walked into the enterprise, searching for a second job,” Cherie mentioned.
“I had simply returned dwelling to Wagga after learning hospitality administration at TAFE in Adelaide and all of it appeared to fall into place.
“It is simply such a stunning place to work – Mark and his household are such sort individuals and I’ve actually felt included as nearly household alongside the years.”
He’s a real captain of his personal ship – chartering new waters with how he has advanced the enterprise.
– Cherie Hubbard
Cherie, who has been a TAFE hospitality instructor for greater than 20 years, mentioned the talents of customer support and enterprise planning have been translated throughout each industries.
A give attention to constructing relationships with prospects, workers and different native companies was central to the longevity of the enterprise, she believed.
“Mark can also be all the time attempting one thing new,” she mentioned.
“He’s a real captain of his personal ship – chartering new waters with how he has advanced the enterprise.
He’s by no means afraid to attempt new issues – bringing in new traces and types of clothes, equipment and different objects to all the time have one thing new and fascinating for patrons.”
Whereas the sale of the enterprise could appear to be flagging the top of an period, Cherie is wanting ahead to seeing Mark get pleasure from time together with his household and reap the rewards of his 45 12 months enterprise foray.