Home of Hills Transport on the market for the first time in 12 years
The centre of operations and home of successful Australian grass roots transport company, Hills Transport has come to market for the first time in over 12 years; approximately seven years after Ken and Julie Gray sold the business.
The property, marketed through co-agents Ray White Commercial NSW and Colliers International was an integral part of the growth of the business which many considered one of the best transport operators in NSW.
The journey to becoming Hills Transport began when Ken Gray and business partner Brian Murphy purchased Ermington Hardware in 1980.
To diversify from other hardware stores, they made deliveries as part of their service offering, and quickly found that the delivery side of the business became highly desirable. Ken saw value in separating the two entities – thus Hills Transport was born.
Beginning in a single car garage no one envisaged what Hills Transport would become. After expanding their operations a number of times Hills finally found their ‘HOME’ – eventually running a large operation out of the Birmigham Avenue property.
For Ken, these are key memories, along with bringing the company back from hard times, “most of my vivid recollections are, by nature, the old ones where we were really struggling, and had no idea whether next week there would be money to pay the wages.”
But, according to long term employee and Financial Controller Peter Taylor, “Ken got Hills Transport off its death bed, we only lost one employee during those tough times,” adding that this was testament to the environment Ken & Julie created for their employees.
According to Peter, Ken and his wife Julie invested in their Villawood property significantly in order to give staff an enjoyable place to work.
The addition of the large concrete hardstand area at the rear of the property was key to running a successful and efficient transport business.
“After an almost 10 year search, this Villawood property became the home of Hills Transport and at its peak turned over approximately $70million a year and had up to 300 staff running the show,” he said.
“Our warehouse was different, we worked hard at making it a nice place to work,” Peter said, noting that during this time Julie was heavily involved in this – managing the company’s finances and administration, at the same time as raising a young family.
In a book published to capture Ken’s memories of the business – called ‘A Success Story’- many former employees share their memories from their time at Hills Transport, including Ex Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor who recalled driving around a blue Mazda that often broke down.
After selling Hills Transport approximately seven years ago, this is the final piece and the end of ‘a success story’ – a rare developed free-standing property ready to become the heart of the next great business which takes it on.
Expression of interest campaign ends at 3pm on Tuesday 11 August 2015.