Airlie Beach business wins big
A HOMEGROWN business on the main street of Airlie Beach has punched way above its weight claiming the title of best small business at the 2012 Telstra Queensland Business Awards.
A&L Laurent, known to many as "Airliebeach.com", was started by Tony and Lolita Laurent in 1994 after the couple, who had been sailing the far-flung reaches of the globe, returned to Australia with their three-year-old daughter and a vision to share their sense of adventure and the beauty of the Whitsunday islands with others.
Over the past 18 years that vision has become one of the region's most comprehensive local tourism operations boasting numerous achievements including establishment of a website in 1994 and Airlie Beach's first smartphone application in 2012.
This year the Laurents found themselves nominated for the MYOB small business category at the Telstra Queensland Business Awards where they impressed the judges by being at the centre of local initiatives to grow the overall tourism 'pie'.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said the Laurents were an inspiration to industry leaders, their peers, staff, family and friends.
"They demonstrate the heights that can be reached with the application of passion, strategic vision and a strong execution plan," he said.
In his acceptance speech at the award ceremony in Brisbane last week, Mr Laurent said the secret to his business' success was simply about applying the principles of caring, honesty, trust, innovation and authenticity.
"We're not re-inventing the wheel - it's just doing the right thing," he said. "The 'A' of Airlie Beach stands for authenticity. What we've got here - it's unique, and I say it very sincerely. We've got to start feeling good about ourselves, because we live in a magic place."
A&L Laurent will now go into the national finals of the Telstra Australian Business Awards with the winners to be announced in Sydney at the end of next month.