SOME businesses say new government regulations stifle their growth. For Ballan window makers Paarhammer it’s exactly the opposite.
New building and bushfire regulations have driven interest in their energy efficient windows and given a national market to their home-grown product.
Tony and Edith Paarhammer established Paarhammer at Ballan in 1990 when they could not find energy efficient windows for their home. Having grown up in Austria, where double-glazed windows were standard, they knew there was a market for them in Australia.
That tiny two-person business, which initially built kitchens to support the window and door production, now employs more than 20 staff building energy efficient double and triple-glazed timber windows and doors.
This week the innovative Ballan business was recognised as Small Manufacturer of the Year at Victoria’s 2017 Manufacturing Hall of Fame Awards.
Paarhammer was the first company in Australia to develop and patent bushfire-resistant windows and doors in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires, and their products are approved for building in the state’s most bushfire prone areas.
Mrs Paarhammer said strong growth in the domestic, industrial and manufacturing sectors around Ballarat and Moorabool, particularly the Ballarat West Employment Zone, bode well for businesses in the region.
The couple chose Ballan to establish their business because of its proximity to Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong, but there were a few teething problems.
“In the beginning we had to travel to Melbourne to get supplies and most of our customers were from Melbourne’s east, but now they come from everywhere and even fly from interstate to come see us.
“One of the benefits of being in Ballan is that we have two growth shires surrounding us, we are on the rail line and have the freeway so it’s definitely a growth area.”
Family interest in the company is expanding, with the couple’s son Thomas, 20, working with them and hoping to one day take over the business.
“We are very thrilled and honoured to win this award,” Ms Paarhammer said.
“Part of our success is the very hard work of our dedicated staff who are the real asset of our business.
“We always believed we could do something good and recognition like this industry award in the Hall of Fame is wonderful.”
Buninyong MP Geoff Howard congratulated the business, saying companies like Paarhammer were helping Victoria become a hub for advanced manufacturing, driving economic activity and creating local jobs.