Circular Head Progress Group hosted a celebration evening on Wednesday March 9 to honour former longstanding business owners who have contributed immensely to the local community over their many years in business.
The evening welcomed friends, family and clients of Smithton’s Heather and David Woodward, and Chrissy and Gary Hingston to recognise their business and personal achievements.
A gem of a story
The Hingstons purchased Thorps Jewellers in 1995 with the idea of working together; Gary had worked on their farm and with Forestry Tasmania for 15 years, while Chrissy had been in accounting roles and worked with local politicians, plus dressmaking from home and teaching sewing at Adult Education.
Over many years they continued to complete courses to improve their skills in the jewellery industry: Gary went to Queensland to learn more about ring resizing and all types of watches from Doug Thorp.
They joined the Showcase Jewellers group after 18 months and had great success within the group, making wonderful friends along the way.
Chrissy was the zone leader for the eight other Showcase stores in Tasmania for 14 years, and had to organise the meetings and training sessions.
Over the past five years they have won Showcase’s mystery shopping award four times with a result of 100 per cent. The award covers 225 stores across Australia and New Zealand.
In 2008, they won the Tasmanian ‘Small Business Award’ for best jewellery shop in Tasmania. An award they credit to their staff for their focus on customer service. They went on to represent Tasmania at the national awards in October of that year.
Gary is also involved with the Tasmania Fire Service and drives the ‘transport2treatment’ vehicle as does Chrissy on a regular basis.
Chrissy has been a contributing member of the Chamber of Commerce, now known as the Circular Head Business Group for 20 years; an active member of Soroptimist International of Circular Head; on the board of Wyndarra Centre for five years and chaired the board of governance for three. She is also on the roster for Meals on Wheels, and helped raise money to build Emmerton Park after Gary’s mother was not able to be accommodated in her community.
Chrissy now works at Emmerton Park’s coffee shop on a Saturday.
Their home has always been a welcome place for international and local visitors and that will continue into the future.
The Hingstons sold the business to Phillip and Lynette Quilliam in January, and are now looking forward to bike riding, gardening and travelling both in Australia and overseas to see their precious grandchildren and family in Ireland.
They have loved the support that has always been shown to them by the Circular Head community and have never once regretted giving back to the place they love.
Success in style
David and Heather raised a family, share-farmed, purchased their own farm at Mawbanna in 1974, and in between managed and lived onsite at Riverbend Youth Centre for two years.
The Woodwards purchased Reflections in Hair from Geoff and Rosemary Walker in 1994.
At the time of the purchase, Heather was managing a large salon in Burnie, Bradmara House and had been for four years.
Going back a step, Once the children were older, Heather renewed her passion for hair in 1990, and applied for a position at Bradmara, travelling to Melbourne for various courses – a big change after 17 years at home. The couple’s daughter Amanda started her apprenticeship there a year later.
Taking on ‘Smithton Hair Care Studio’ as it was later named, the salon quickly grew and outgrew the premises, so the major gutting of the building and rebuilding began.
Over the years Heather has had the privilege to employ and train more than 30 apprentices, including daughter Amanda and granddaughter Abby.
There are many highlights for Heather, all of which revolve around relationships and very close friendships with her clients and staff.
As a member of Schwarzkopf PH team, she has had many wonderful experiences including trips to Germany, England, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand and many more locations.
A major highlight was entering and winning the Telstra ‘Small Business Award’ in 1999. This award was enabled by the amazing team of eight, working together closely and growing the business 900 per cent over that time.
Heather has also contributed in many other ways to the community, as a member on the former Circular Head Business Enterprise Centre committee, currently on CHPG committee, and was on a team of 12 nationwide invited to be on the Federal Government Small Business Advisory committee, meeting in Canberra over a term of two years under the leadership of ministers Joe Hockey and Fran Bailey.
David has also helped the community through his role as Circular Head Council councillor over a period of seven-plus years, and on various committees as delegated through the council.
Selling the business to Abby last year, Heather still remains an integral piece of the team, going to work, caring for her clients and continuing and building on the relationships established.