BLESSED ARE THE CHEESMAKERS: Jamie Charles is comfortable in his new role as business owner.
BLESSED ARE THE CHEESMAKERS: Jamie Charles is comfortable in his new role as business owner. Jonno Colfs

He followed a dream and now he’s part of the furniture

FOLLOW your dreams.

That’s the word from Jamie Charles, owner of the Furniture Zone store in Palmerin St.

“Even if they involve a lot of heavy lifting and trying to manoeuvre wide couches through thin doorways, it’ll be worth it in the long run,” Mr Charles said.

After finishing Year 12 at Warwick State High School in 1994 without a trade or much idea about he what he wanted to do, Mr Charles spent 12 months working at the bacon factory (John Dee Abbattoir), before starting at the Warwick butter and Cheese Factory in Victoria St, the now abandoned Parmalat factory.

“I was a cheesemaker for 8 years.

“I started out in hard cheeses, and graduated to Camembert after about four years.

“It was a really nice place to work in winter.

“The temperature inside was about 38-39 degrees, and 90-100% humidity, the optimum for cheese-making cultures.”

After being made redundant, when the factory closed in 2003, Mr Charles said he was offered a $2000 grant to go towards trade training.

“I used that to get my security license and got some casual work at St Vincents Hospital.

“ I did some security and domestic duties; kitchen work, gardening, cleaning, laundry etc.

“Eventually I got sick of going to Toowoomba every day and got a casual job doing the same sort of thing at Warwick Hospital.”

The hours, which were far from the regular 9–5 that normal people work, allowed Mr Charles to try something different.

“I bought a house and decided to fix it up a bit, like they do on those renovation shows; nothing structural, just cosmetic, making it a bit prettier, a new bathroom, kitchen, toilet, that sort of thing,” he said.

“Some days I wouldn’t start work till 5pm so I could work on the house all day.

“I just made the most of the time I had and it’s worked out nicely for me, I’ve bought and sold about 5 or 6 houses now.

“I also bought a block of land on Mt Tabor years ago when they were cheap.”

Then, a couple of years ago Mr Charles started looking at business ideas.

“I wanted to make sure my kids were going to be looked after, that they’d have the things they needed,” he said.

“I wanted to have something for them to go into, if they didn’t go to uni or find a trade.

“I wanted to leave a legacy, and being boys they’ll be handy at lifting furniture.

“I found out the furniture store was for sale and saw what a great business Lionel (Baguley) had built and decided to go for it.

“And this month we’ve become the very first Furniture Zone shop in the country.

“So my day is filled with delivering furniture all over the region, fitting couches through doors, plus customer service and the books – everything that goes with running a business.

“Now I’m my own boss, I’m never looking back again.”

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