Open, ready & expanding
Coolum Beach, the best place to start a business on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
(image provided by @visitsunshinecoast)
There is no denying, the Sunshine Coast is one of the hottest places to buy property right now and Coolum Beach is at the top of that leader board.
But it isn’t just the housing market that is showing massive gains, the private business sector is hot, too! Interstate investors, relocators and long-term locals are busy planning, opening and expanding enterprises, and there is a lot to be excited about!
So the first question, why Coolum? Well, what is not to love? Coolum Beach is the perfect blend of lifestyle, opportunity and access. Halfway between Maroochydore and Noosa, it is positioned perfectly to connect the hinterland with the surf and air, with the Sunshine Coast Airport just 10mins down the road at Marcoola. It is of course a beautiful seaside town surrounded by National Parks and has a great selection of boutique shopping and everyday necessities.
(image provided by @visitsunshinecoast)
According to the latest available data, around 16,500 people live in the area in 2020, which is known for its relaxed lifestyle, great surf and the iconic Mount Coolum. However, since COVID, Coolum has seen a steep increase in population thanks to international returners and interstate movers.
Before this, it maintained a consistently low annual growth rate of 2.1% over the past ten years, with a large proportion being families. The top five employment industries include construction, education (preschool and school), food and beverage services, other retail and medical/health care services.
According to Queensland Government Statistician’s Office, 2020, there were 1,382 businesses in Coolum Beach, typically micro and small businesses with 30% having between 1 and 4 employees.
Where are the opportunities?
Coolum’s unique identity and market position as a tourism destination has made it the target for strategic growth. The Coolum Business and Tourism Action Plan commissioned by the Coolum Business and Tourism is a testament to the focus and commitment to investment. The report revealed four (4) main community aspirations themes: 1. Connectivity 2. Activation 3. Destination & Tourism 4. Infrastructure & Development.
Planning for the future
There are a few key plans which have contributed to Coolum’s recent boom including the Sunshine Coast Council Strategic Framework which identifies the local area as the ‘Sunshine Coast Enterprise Corridor’, which is a key area for economic development and residential growth.
There is also the Local Area Plan which defines “two distinct commercial areas, with tourist activities focused along the Coolum Esplanade (David Low Way) and local commercial and retail activity focused in the Birtwill Street area.”
And the Sub-Regional Identity, which was a tourism-focused report to identify Coolum’s point of difference for marketing. It defined Coolum’s core identity as ‘Simply. Be’ summarised as ‘Leave your worries behind + live life on Coolum time’
Private sector investment
There is also significant development occurring and proposed in and around Coolum which will further boost the area’s vibrancy.
Barns Lane Farm – supporting growth
Barns Lane Farm is a working farm that embodies everything great about Coolum and the region – the atmosphere, the community and the warm fresh air! As a sustainable tourism attraction, the business and community aim is to strengthen local vibes through food, heart and happiness and promises to offer ‘the region’s best of everything’.
A collection of rural-oriented experiences set across more than 6 hectares – and just a few kilometres from the beach, it incorporates a diverse range of offerings including our Produce Hall, Dining Precinct, Education and more!
Core to the Barns Lane Farm unique offering is our 2,0000 sqm Produce Hall which features open stalls, trading 7 days a week. These consist of a mix of short-term kiosks on 1, 3 or 6-month licenses, supported by permanent stallholders.
The selection of permanent stallholders within the Produce Hall gives locals and visitors alike the confidence they will have access to their regular favourites and are surprised by the ever-changing offerings from the casual kiosks.
The vision is the Produce Hall stock predominantly locally sourced products, with a focus on sustainable farming and organic produce. Check out some of the specific stall opportunities here.
Operators and Producer Opportunities:
The unique business model provides a safer, more affordable entry point for producers and retail operators who want to connect with value-aligned customers.
Stallholders have access to a range of services including basement loading & storage cages, cold room facilities, retail staff support, industry networking and business and marketing support.
Barns Lane Farm has announced an exciting joint venture collaboration with Josephmark (https://josephmark.studio/) that will bring an Ag Venture Studio to Barns Lane Farm. Designed to source, incubate and release a range of food and ag-tech businesses, the aim is to solve small and large problems around food and sustainability. The venture will not only bring an interesting tech and venture capital piece to Barns Lane but will also create a community of smart ‘techies’ who can interact with the other businesses onsite, creating unique collaboration opportunities. This concept is a great addition to position the Sunshine Coast as leaders nurturing the next Ag/Food tech unicorns!
We are now taking Expressions of Interest for operators and producers interested in short-term and long-term licensing and leasing opportunities.