The village of Tugun is home to a number of multi-generational family businesses, and the Blenkins Group is one with a history embedded in the foundations of the local business landscape.
Following on from his father and grandfather’s legacy with the beachside suburb, builder and developer, Allan Blenkins, has established a successful enterprise across the region, all the while maintaining a strong community focus in the local area.
Born in St George in southwest Queensland, Allan first started visiting his grandparents’ holiday house in Wagawn Street in Tugun in the late 1960s. His family then moved to the Southern Gold Coast shortly after, where Allan attended Coolangatta Primary School, and his grandfather went into real estate, opening Syd Blenkins Golden Four Mile Real Estate.
Following high school, Allan became an apprentice carpenter with the Health Department of Gold Coast City Council, working on projects from the Palm Beach Olympic Pool, to the Evandale Civic Centre. He even took out the title of Apprentice of the Year – showing promising signs for a career in the building industry.
Allan started his own construction business in 1984, which has now evolved into the Blenkins Group, covering building, property management and ownership of the IGA at Tugun, which he has co-owned for nearly 9 years. Previously FoodWords, the supermarket site has now been operating as IGA for two years.
“It’s a fantastic location,” says Allan of the supermarket. “For us it is more about the property than the supermarket business, which we have completely under management. It is right in the heart of the community.”
Now busier than ever, the company undertakes projects throughout the Gold Coast, Brisbane and remote areas of Queensland, and Allan’s sons and nephew are also involved in the family business.
But it’s Allan’s memories of his grandfather’s involvement in the community that have instilled more than good business sense into him. Among many things, his grandfather was one of the founders of the Air Sea Rescue, based at Currumbin (now the Volunteer Marine Rescue), and Allan has continued to share those strong community values. In 2001, together with Andrew Reynolds and Chris Testa, Allan was part of the initial steering committee to have a Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank located in Tugun.
The Tugun Community Bank opened in 2003, and Allan held the position of Chair of the Board of Directors for four years. Still on the Board today, Allan is heavily involved in the Bank’s community efforts, which sees profits returned to the local community.
Allan has also been a driving force behind the annual Tugun Lights Up celebration – where Tugun businesses decorate their shop fronts for the month of December to spread Christmas spirit across the village.
Instinctively, he sees no slowing down for Tugun in years to come. “It’s the sheer weight of numbers. The airport is expected to grow from 6 million passengers a year to 16 million in the coming decades – and the majority heading north will see Tugun in their sights.”
Allan also sees promise for the area delivered by the Cobaki Lakes development, with 5,200 homes west of the Airport, as well as the reinvigoration of Coolangatta and the growth of Southern Cross University. “People are getting more inquisitive about Tugun. We’ll see more of them coming here, whether it’s for a coffee or to stop in at one of the shops.”