This is sponsored content for BOQ.
Most local businesses are born from the desire to give back to the community. For the Hopper family, owners of Maleny Dairies, that desire has become a reality by committing to keeping their operation local.
The dairy's journey began in 2000 with the deregulation of the milk industry. After thousands of their fellow Australian farmers were forced to shut up shop, the Hoppers decided to fight back by building their business model anew from the ground up. Since that day the dairy has grown at a steady pace, supporting local farmers every step of the way.
To many, the idea of building one's own farming enterprise from scratch may sound risky, but owner Ross Hopper says that their venture was a family decision.
"My wife and I built the factory on my dad's recommendation; he thought it would be the only option to keep dairying and to keep the farm in the family. So we bought a block of dirt off him and started building," he said.
Since that day, Maleny Dairies has gone from strength to strength. Committed to producing locally-made products, the brand remains loyal to its customers and suppliers alike, a reflection of their dedication to keeping things local. Speaking to their philosophy, Mr Hopper says it's about taking care of one another.
"If you pay your farmers the right price, they will give you quality milk, and that milk will sell itself," he said.
When it comes to funding the kind of farming operation that can afford to keep its standards high, Maleny Dairies handle their financial affairs in the same way they work with farmers, by building long term relationships, and by keeping things local. That's precisely why they chose to partner with the Bank of Queensland (BOQ).
Far more than just an institution that provides financial services to its clients, BOQ is dedicated to delivering smart banking solutions that are designed to help businesses grow and thrive. With BOQ, setups such as the Maleny Dairies - companies that rely on uninterrupted operations - can expand their spaces and invest in equipment with ease, by making the most of business finance and cash flow options that are tailored to their needs.
For Maleny Dairies, a business that has experienced rapid growth over the years, Mr Hopper says the guidance provided by BOQ - always delivered with the brand's best interests in mind - has been an essential element to their success.
"We definitely wouldn't be where we are without our relationship with BOQ. I couldn't imagine doing it any other way. There have been many occasions where we've needed answers urgently, and being placed in a queue on hold (in those kinds of situations) doesn't work," he said.
The secret to the successful relationship Maleny Dairies shares with BOQ comes down to a couple of key factors that can't always be offered by bigger banking operations - proximity and professionalism with a personal touch. When banking with larger branches who had left town in the past, Mr Hopper says it was much harder to get things done.
"When we changed to BOQ it was a simple choice to stay. The others [banks] had started operating with managers we never saw and they wouldn't have the feel for what we were up to," he said.
Nowadays, Maleny Dairies works closely with a partner they consider a part of their team, Sam Archer - Owner Manager and Principal of BOQ Buderim - a valued banking representative who, in the words of the Hoppers, allows the brand to continue doing what they do.
"The best part about working with BOQ and Sam is being known personally. It means we can get our business ideas across the line in a timely manner when we're on a roll and need to keep on the crest of the wave," Mr Hopper said.
This ability to execute changes fast has allowed Maleny Dairies to take advantage of periodic spikes in sales as they've built their business, such as the rise in orders that flooded in during 2016. This unexpected period of expansion saw the business needing emergency equipment to get the high volume orders out the door. With thanks to their close relationship with BOQ, they were able to maintain momentum.
"We were sourcing equipment, Sam was approving it overnight, and we were able to grab those opportunities, which has flowed through to more opportunities on top of that," Mr Hopper said.
Another individual who helps to ensure the business is well-equipped is Loic David - Acting National Sales Manager for BOQ's equipment finance division - who was brought on board by Sam in 2019 to assist with equipment upgrades.
"As part of BOQ Business, I believe that my specialist knowledge of equipment and process served as a strong benefit to Maleny Dairies and Sam during the business's recent complex upgrade," Mr David said.
"I'm proud to support good, hardworking people that contribute so much locally, and am excited to see the efficiencies that these new upgrades contribute to the business and its ongoing success."
Speaking to how BOQ positions themselves to build strong, lasting relationships with their clients, Mr Archer says that it's their commitment to growing with businesses long term that sets them apart. As someone who has travelled closely with the Hoppers on their Maleny Dairies journey, he looks forward to watching the business continue to grow for many years to come.
"I see myself as very fortunate to have Ross and Sally as a client, and what I love about what we do at BOQ is the way we can connect with our clients. It's a really unique situation to be in, and a joy to be able to work closely with customers. It's more than a business relationship, it's a friendship," Mr Archer said.
With this closeness, stronger and more consistent communication becomes far easier to achieve, something that Mr Hopper says is essential to the running of their operation.
"It's important to work with a bank that believes in you as a customer. The only way this can be achieved is if they know your business personally, just like Sam knows ours," Mr Hopper said.
To found a local business is one thing, to see it flourish is quite another. The latter requires building partnerships with banks who share your vision. Doing so not only helps you prosper, it also helps the community.
In the words of Mr Hopper, when you invest in the right bank, that bank can keep a small town strong. For Maleny Dairies, this has meant keeping their financial partners at BOQ as close as their local farmers, a tactic that continues to benefit their brand, and their township, too.
This is sponsored content for BOQ.