Home' Border Enterprise : Autumn-Winter 2011 Contents 9
Vol 4. Autumn/Winter
Plug Straight In.
YOU'RE READY, WE'RE READY.
LET'S DO BUSINESS.
Our Economic Development Team can assist you with the information and
support that you require to make sound business decisions:
So Plug Straight In... 02 6023 8111 or www.alburycity.nsw.gov.au.
"Russ obtained a
sales position with Bev
Marks Australia at their flagship
store in Nunawading soon after he
moved from Canberra in 2006,"
He took the role thinking it would
give him something to do until he
found a better job. Before long he
was hooked on selling and on the
Bev Marks commitment to selling
only Australian-made products.
"In May 2007 we had our first
formal discussion with the CEO
of Bev Marks regarding franchise
opportunities," Kerrie recalled.
"In October 2008 we packed up
our home in Melbourne, ready to
open the doors to our new store in
Wodonga on Boxing Day, 2008.
When Russ joined Bev Marks,
Kerrie was working in Collins Street
in Melbourne as the marketing
communications manager for a
career management consulting
firm. "Anyone who has met me
knows I am no wall flower, so it
was no surprise that when Russ
put the idea of the franchise to me
be a 50/50 partnership, I'm not
going to work for you!"
And the rest, as they say, is history.
How long have you worked
"There are just the two of us in
the business which is probably
plenty as we both have very strong
personalities," Kerrie said."We have
worked together since October
2008 when we started setting up
the store ready for our opening in
December of that year."
How do you complement each
other/what are your particular
"Russ is the negotiator,
entrepreneur and risk taker," Kerrie
said. "He will do the deals while I
will make it happen, fuss over the
detail and make sure everyone is
What are the advantages of
"The advantage of Russ and I
working together is that all of our
energies are focused on building
the shared dream of a successful
What, if anything, is the
"There is no tougher boss
than your own business," Kerrie
reflected. "While we get to spend
almost every day together we rarely
get quality time together. Almost
every waking moment is spent
working in the business, working
on the business or talking about
the business. And just when you
thought you could have a day off
or at least a sleep in, one of the
staff will call in sick and all the plans
How do you keep business and
family life separate?
"To be honest, it is not easy,"
Kerrie responded. "We try to
restrict our after work discussions
to the first hour when we get home
but often the conversation runs
over. While we spend most days
together at the store, we are both
focused on our own jobs and
spend very little time during the
working day discussing strategy
and the like.
"While we both struggle some
times to switch off, I wind down
by debriefing on the day and
analysing every detail of a situation
while Russ prefers to retreat to the
garden and contemplate the day
in peace. These differences can
cause some tension at times.
"You need to remember our
business is just over two years old,
so as we settle and as the business
grows, we'd like to think that the
separation of business and home
will become easier."
What are your tips for
"It's really important to
understand the boundaries of each
other's role in the business and to
respect this," Kerrie said. "It's also
really important to remain clear and
centred on our core business, while
continuing to keep our product
offer fresh, competitive and relevant
to our customers.
"We are here for the long haul
and have a big focus on building
good relationships with our
customers, our staff, our suppliers
and the Border community more
broadly through our community
Where will you be in 10 years?
"Overseeing a network of Bev
Marks stores; playing a lot more
golf and travelling throughout
Australia in a Winnebago," Russ
chimed in. Kerrie added that she
would like to set up a not-for-profit
organisation helping marginalised
women in the community find
Would you recommend family
partnerships to others?
"Yes, but going into business
with a family member needs to be
given the same consideration as
any other business partnership,"
Kerrie. "You need to go in
with eyes wide open, clear role
boundaries and a clear plan."
BEV MARKS AUSTRALIA
Owners: Russ France & Kerrie Burzacott
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