IPSWICH shoppers who join the Costco cult will form part of the company’s cunning business model that uses members as part of its strategic plan.
Members are used to the company’s benefit which relies on shoppers becoming hooked on the cheap novelty products and dragging their friends and family into the Costco membership web.
An Ipswich site, the second in Queensland after North Lakes, was all part of the plan, with existing and planned infrastructure links to other parts of the state encouraging shoppers to flock to the city.
It means Costco’s hold on the state is strengthened with only two stores.
University of Southern Queensland marketing and consumer behaviour researcher Dr Rumman Hassan said the model allowed Costco to depend on its members to spread the good word, as opposed to buying ads, further reducing overhead costs and keeping prices low.
“One interesting fact about Costco’s strategy is that Costco have mastered the ‘pull strategy’ which means their spending on advertising is insignificant,” he said.
“They get people through their doors via word-of-mouth referrals from existing customers and by strategically locating their warehouses.
“The location at Ipswich is testament to this as it will draw customers not just from Ipswich, but nearby towns.”
It’s a strategy which led to Costco becoming the first company to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years from when it began in the United States in 1976.
Dr Hassan said Ipswich was a strategic location for Costco to call home, with convenient complimentary businesses like transport, freight and packaging services in line for a boost.
“What we also might see is more traffic into Ipswich, people driving from Toowoomba, Esk, Brisbane and Logan and that may also have an effect on other complimentary business, for example pubs and restaurants,” he said.
“We might see those types of business having the benefits of Costco in their town.”
Dr Hassan said there was still plenty of room for Costco development and Ipswich was potentially just the beginning.
“Ipswich is a very strategic location, Queensland is still fairly untapped by Costco and I would perhaps even think Toowoomba would be a great location, I think it’s here to stay,” he said.
Humble beginnings for retail superpower
COSTCO is a membership warehouse club and uses customer membership fees to cover overheads and increase buying power.
The company has hundreds of locations worldwide, including nine in Australia, and provides a wide selection of merchandise including everything from groceries and electronics to clothing and cleaning supplies.
The company’s first location opened in 1976 under the Price Club name, and was in a converted aircraft hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego.
The company found it could achieve far greater buying power by serving small businesses and a select audience of non-business members.
With that, the growth of the warehouse club industry was off and running.
When Costco and Price Club merged in 1993 to become PriceCostco, it had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales.
Since resuming the Costco name in 1997, the company has grown worldwide.
Australian membership ranges from $55 to $60 for a year.
Originally Published: www.qt.com.au
BUDGET: Cash splashed to fix Ipswich’s congested highway
ONE of Ipswich’s worst intersections will be fixed with the Federal Government committing to fund an upgrade to the Cunningham Highway.
In his third budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed $170 million would go towards improving the dreaded Amberley Interchange.
The project will include a realignment of the highway between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek and an upgrade of the Ipswich-Rosewood Rd.
Expansions and growing military activity at RAAF Base Amberley has put pressure on the interchange.
The $170 million funding injection also comes as the Ipswich City Council considers a proposal from Lantrak to move 1 million tonnes of landfill each year to rehabilitate the New Hope coal mine at Jeebropilly.
According to the application more than 250 heavy vehicles would transit the highway each day.
The government says the Cunningham Highway upgrade will “improve travel reliability and reduce congestion”.
It is expected the Queensland Labor Government will match the funding to start the $340 million project.
Federal Labor MP Shayne Neumann confirmed his party would offer bipartisan support and also commit to fixing the highway in a “major boost for the economic capacity of the Ipswich region”.
“The road takes 2700 heavy vehicle movements a day, and plays a significant role in transporting people and freight between Brisbane and Sydney,” he said.
“These vital upgrades to the Cunningham Highway have long been identified on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List.
“That’s why it’s disappointing the Turnbull LNP Government have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund this project.”
Become an entrepreneur
OLDER residents in Ipswich will be encouraged to become entrepreneurs so they can stay in the workforce longer.
The Federal Government will roll out 20 new entrepreneurship facilitators across the regions over the next four years.
Ipswich, along with central Queensland, Ballina and Tweed, will benefit from the program.
The small business experts will teach mature-age people how to start and maintain sustainable businesses.
The Federal Government has set aside $2.7 million in the 2018-19 financial year for the project.
A further $15 million will fund the program until June of 2022.
The government has also committed to continuing the Job Change project that assists mature-age workers to remain in the workforce as retirement and pension ages creep upwards.
Amberley cashes in on Defence spending
RAAF Base Amberley will take a share in millions of dollars in upgrades in the Defence portfolio.
A new Air Traffic Control Radar will be installed at Amberley as part of an estimated $96 million investment in new technology across several bases.
Working accommodation, maintenance, warehousing and training facilities will be built to support the introduction of the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability aircraft.
The project is scheduled for completion by early 2021.
A C-17 maintenance facility, aircraft apron and associated infrastructure will also be constructed.
It is scheduled for completion by early 2019.
Australia’s largest solar farm planned near Ipswich
Somerset already hosts a number of energy projects including hydroelectric plants at Wivenhoe Dam and Splityard Creek Dam.Contributed
AUSTRALIA’S largest solar farm has been proposed for a rural site near Ipswich.
The proposed plant, east of Harlin along the D’Aguilar Highway, would have final capacity of 1,500 megawatts, six times larger than its closest rival.
Plans include two substations and the capacity to hire to 60 people.
The Sunraysia solar farm in NSW is Australia’s largest under construction, at 250 megawatts.
Other Australian solar farms of up to 1,000 megawatts have been proposed.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said it was a complex development application from Ethos Urban planning consultants.
The company has been involved in other large infrastructure projects throughout Australia, on behalf of Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd.
“We understand the attractions of the site include its proximity to the existing high voltage power network and proximity to Brisbane,” Cr Lehmann said.
“The site has been largely cleared in the past and is within one hour of the 570 MW pumped storage hydroelectric plant at Splityard Creek which is also in the Somerset Regional Council area.
“The development application includes two substations, facilities for up to 60 employees and provision for battery storage.”
“The application has been referred to various government departments and agencies for their input and we will carefully assess it against our planning scheme like any other proposal.”
Somerset Regional Council is reviewing the application.
Education City link approved by Ipswich Council
A FOOTPATH that will link Springfield’s Education City to the Robelle Domain Parklands in Springfield Central has been approved by Ipswich City Council.
Plans were lodged by Springfield Land Corporation on February 2 this year and first approved on February 26.
However Ipswich City Council did not approve the use of Hoop Pines to landscape the pathway.
After some negotiating a new decision notice was issued on April 9 with the condition stipulating that Hoop Pines were not to be used deleted.
The land where the pathway is being constructed is lot 810 Sinnathamby Boulevard, Springfield Central.
Described as an open space boulevard pathway, the public concrete path and associated landscaping work has been approved in full subject to conditions.
Footpath lighting is to be installed, and a spotter catcher is to be engaged to supervise vegetation removal and ensure any native fauna including native bees are identified and relocated.
The spotter catcher is to submit a report before and after vegetation clearing works are undertaken detailing what wildlife has been identified and preventative and remedial actions taken to ensure animal safety.