For many businesses, the global pandemic was an omen of bad luck, leading to the closure of trade, and the dismissal of employees.
For Daisy’s Garden Supplies however, extended lockdowns meant more time for people to stay home and pick up hobbies, like gardening.
Established in 1975, the family-owned business was set up by Neil and Margaret Mulcahy with a single truck.
Their son Evan Mulcahy started working at the business at age 10, giving the now-managing director a 30-year career at Daisy’s.
When the pandemic hit in early 2020, the business was supplying garden and landscaping products for residential, commercial and civil projects from three sites in Melbourne. Demand for their services ramped up as the lockdowns were extended.
Evan Mulcahy says the demand was overwhelming.
“We were so busy during that period, it was quite overwhelming really,” Mulcahy says.
“When we came out of the end of it, we were very, very frantic.”
Wanting to prioritise his wife and two sons, and pull back on driving heavy machinery, Mulcahy says expanding was necessary.
“We needed to restructure what we were doing and how we were doing it,” he says.
The business engaged a new accountant, who happened to specialise in family business, and Mulcahys’ brother-in-law joined the company as commercial director, bringing with him decades of commercial experience.
With the new team in place, Daisy’s Garden Supplies began a rapid expansion to triple in size within a year.
The new team made several acquisitions, including similar family businesses and some complementary businesses that extended the company’s product offering.
At the end of the expansion phase, Daisy’s Garden Supplies had 175 staff at eight retail sites, two production facilities, three quarries and a sandpit.
“The business has lots and lots of moving parts,” Mulcahy says.
“It’s certainly hard to manage for one person, so you’ve really got to rely on your team around you.
“By growing, we’ve been able to have a lot more people—good people—around the table that can help manage the load.”
Before the pandemic, Daisy’s had a fleet of 50 vehicles. Now the company has more than 100 vehicles, including 25 Isuzu trucks in the company’s yellow, red, and green signage.
Mulcahy says the company had a range of different sizes and models of Isuzu trucks, which were mainly used for deliveries of soil, sand, pebbles, mulch, sleepers, pavers and firewood from the retail centres.
Daisy’s models range from light-duty Isuzu Tippers through to the twin-steer heavy-duty FYJ 300-350, with each truck averaging around 50,000 kilometres a year.
Daisy’s took delivery of two additional Isuzu trucks to assist with the increasing demands on the business. First-up was a brand-new FXY 240-350 with a tipper body, ensuring Daisy’s can deliver its heavy payloads with ease.
The FXY was soon joined by a ‘big brother’ Isuzu, a heavy-duty FYJ 300-350 with a tipper body and a twin-steer front axle, featuring a GVM of 30,000 kilograms and a GCM of 45,000 kilograms.
The heavier trucks are used for bulk material deliveries and for transfer of material between each of Daisy’s yards.
Even though he inherited a successful business, Mulcahy says he’s proud he’s been able to put his own stamp on it with the recent expansion.