Pizza lovers Shane Obrist and Damian Sowerbutts had always wanted to run their own business. When they moved to Maclean and discovered the town didn’t have a pizza restaurant they saw an opportunity to combine their two passions. They wanted to embrace the town’s Scottish heritage so they set up Tartan Pizza, which opened last November.
Shane came from a customer service background and Damian had a career in local government and recruitment so they decided to seek help to set up their business. It was Clarence Valley Council that suggested Damian contact Service NSW about the Easy to do Business program.
“There are so many uncertainties that play on your mind when you start a business and it’s great to be able to rely on information from an authority that’s on your side,” Damian said.
Easy to do Business is a free NSW Government service which includes a digital platform and a personalised phone service which helps aspiring business owners set up, launch and grow their small businesses faster and more easily. Damian was assigned a Business Concierge who helped guide him through the process.
“I come from a background where I understand how to research and find forms but I found this service very useful. For someone without that background knowledge, it would be such an advantage to have the Easy to do Business team on your side,” Damian explained.
“Before I lodged my DA, I went over it with the Business Concierge to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Talking to someone who understands government processes was invaluable. I went to the council feeling confident.
“The team had a significantly calming effect on my business planning. The Business Concierge was good at keeping me on track when I got frustrated. I can’t thank him enough for his constantly positive attitude and genuine encouragement.”
Tartan Pizza is now thriving. Damian has hired eight people from the local community – all under the age of 25.
“We wanted a soft launch but we sold 127 pizzas on the first night – double what we had planned for. We didn’t do much advertising, but it’s Maclean, a small town, and people like to talk to each other – it’s amazing like that,”Damian said.
“I would recommend anyone planning to start their business contact Easy to do Business before they get started. I benefited enormously from the program.”