It’s been almost two weeks since Adam and Robyn Cheshire’s business Amaze World was announced as Business of the Year at the Sunshine Coast Business Awards. And the couple is still clearly on a high from the win.
Having also won their category (Experiences Tourism – Large) for the second year running, the husband and wife were so surprised to take out the big gong, they didn’t even have a speech prepared on the evening.
“We are still speechless,” Robyn says.
“We were really hopeful to win our category. Having won last year, the pressure was a little bit higher.
“The competition in our category was also quite high. It certainly wasn’t a given we were going to win. So, we were just so happy to win that.
“The Business of the Year award was a huge surprise and not something we had expected to take out at all. That was just the icing on the cake.”
Adam adds: “I felt like a dear in the headlights on the night, I was so surprised.”
The couple purchased the business five-and-a-half years ago and invested heavily in the Sunshine Coast attraction to revitalise and develop it into the popular tourist attraction is has become today.
“It’s an iconic, 30-year-old business, but it was quite tired and had a bit of a stigma attached to it, to be honest,” Adam says.
“It needed a lot of love and a lot of investment to bring it up to speed with modern expectations of a tourist attraction.
“We saw it as a huge opportunity.
“So, we emptied our piggy banks and managed to buy the place and ever since then, most of the profits have gone back into the business.”
Since taking over the business, originally founded in 1993 by the Bellingham family, the couple has opened another six mazes and a whole host of new activities, including new playgrounds and a water-play area.
They are renovating their café, just in time for the Christmas school holidays.
“It’s a modern, impressive place, where we are all about family fun,” Adam says. “It’s a good, solid half-day out for a family.”
Although they are not new to small business, this is the first time the Cheshires have jumped in the deep end and started their own venture.
“We have had small businesses here and there, but mainly as a side hustle,” Adam says.
“My background is in business management – from small, family-owned to global conglomerates. That gave me a lot of confidence.”
Robyn adds: “He has seen how much he has grown other businesses and the impact it had for them.
“It’s nice to do that for your own family. There is a lot of pride in having your own small business and the effort and hard work that goes into it as well.”
Adam and Robyn agree the close-knit Sunshine Coast business community has been a pillar of strength and support to them in their business journey so far.
“In the tourism industry, in particular, there are a lot of networking events,” Robyn says.
“We all have each other’s back. We all help each other.
“It’s quite a supportive industry we work in. In fact, the community in general is supportive.”
Although the Cheshires admit the submission process for the Sunshine Coast Business Awards is quite a hefty one, they agree it is well worth the effort.
“Through the process, it helps you to delve into all different aspects of your business and reflect on the past 12 months, which is quite important,” Robyn says.
“When you are in the thick of running your own business, you can lose sight of what you have achieved.
“It’s nice to have that time to reflect and put it down on paper.”
Needless to say, the two are brimming with pride over the recent achievements and are quick to thank those who have helped them reach their success.
“We are very honoured and proud of the efforts of our large team and the people we partner with,” Adam says.
“It gives us such a sense of confidence that we are doing something right.”