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How hospitality benefits business at Australind Landscaping Supplies

Ryan is standing with Karen at the front counter of Australind Landscaping Supplies. Ryan is holding the phone to his ear. Karen is looking at him

Australind Landscaping Supplies deals in mumby majic, soil conditioner, lupin mulch, bounce back and plenty of other products (in quantities big and small) and services to keep your landscaping efforts on track.

However, they also deal in something that’s not for sale and that appears (anecdotally at least) to have a positive impact on their business. We’ll call this hospitality.

John Lethlean’s take on hospitality

Almost a decade ago, journalist John Lethlean penned a column in The Australian entitled “Warm hospitality the missing ingredient.” Although his column was written with restaurants in mind, there’s no reason his thoughts can’t extend to the broader business community. Mr. Lethlean tells his readers: “As a generalisation, you see, I just don’t think hospitality is something Australians do particularly well. We are not a nation of servers and warmth generators. Too often, we do so begrudgingly.”

We’ve discovered that this quality of hospitality is definitely free flowing at Australind Landscaping Supplies. When one walks in, the staff is definitely – as Lethlean calls it – “servers and warmth generators.” They smile, talk with calm enthusiasm and make you feel welcome in their place of business.

Our WorkABILITY Day encounter

We visited Australind Landscaping Supplies in September of last year for WorkABILITY Day. This is a day that provides work experience for Forrest Personnel participants by matching them with opportunities provided by willing employers.

This employer was willing, and participant Ryan Brown filled his day with a variety of tasks that we caught on camera.

Ryan is standing and has his hands on a piece of landscaping equipment

Ryan showing off the machinery at Australind Landscaping Supplies as part of WorkABILITY Day 2020. Photo by Rob Cox, oxy images

Return visit

We visited again in early 2021 and received a similar warm and inviting reception. Owner Shaun Quaife and Yard Manager Karen Jand set the tone for this affable business culture. Team members Robert Aitkens (Contract Manager) and Thomas Ewing-Lloyd are also party to this positivity. We asked Shaun to describe his personal motivation not just for being hospitable, but for being open to hosting Ryan for a one-day opportunity. He told us that: “From personal experience, I know the challenges faced by families with people with disability. I am fully supportive of providing these kinds of opportunities.”

Community engagement

We wondered how else they engage with the community. Karen told us that they host work experience students from Australind Senior High School and Newton Moore Senior High School, and often make product donations to deserving causes.

We discovered that their hospitality has legs. We learnt about Kalimera House in College Grove – accommodation for cancer patients being treated in Bunbury – for which they not only provide materials but have supplied manpower to establish the gardens. Kalimera House proprietors Graeme and Cathy Loton describe gardens with a peaceful ambience and couldn’t speak highly enough of the generosity of Shaun and his team.

Position on the index

How would Mr. Lethlean rate Australind Landscaping Supplies on his warm hospitality index? We can only surmise, but we suspect they’d be bucking any downward trend by being positioned in the highest percentile. It sounds like a great place to work and an inviting place to do business.


Feature photo: Ryan Brown and Karen Jand at Australind Landscaping Supplies for WorkABILITY Day, September 2020 by Rob Cox, oxy images

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

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