Welcome to our Garage - 110 years in the making, walk through time with us
Nestled in the hinterland town of Palmwoods on the beautiful Sunshine Coast you’ll find Ricks Garage.
Originally built in 1913 the site was home to the hinterlands first Blacksmith. Then, a vibrant Pineapple industry kept the business powering along for 72 years. As time went on and with the progression of the motor car the Blacksmiths slowly evolved to focus on automotive servicing.
Steve Russ and his family solidified this, purchasing the building in 1954 and branding it 'Steve Russ’s Garage.'
They introduced a fuel bowser to the front of the building, the first and only in Palmwoods and built a 3 bedroom apartment above the garage where the family lived for 36 years.
As Steve grew older, he eventually retired from the business and sold it to Mick and Helen Harris in 1990. The couple ran the business for 13 years. Mick the mechanic, while Helen, his wife, administered the books. Through their time of ownership 'Palmwoods Town Plaza' was developed, the 9 mixed retail shops neighbouring the garage landmarked Margaret Street as the shopping hub of the town.
Rick and Lisa first visited Palmwoods in the early 2000’s. The couple's long-time friends Steve and Veronica Roberts had been living in town for most of their lives and invited Rick & Lisa to come and stay with them, after they completed a long stint working and raising their 2 sons, Ben & Tama, in Ayers Rock, NT.
During their stay, the Garage took Ricks eye, a keen motoring enthusiast he was looking for somewhere to inject his focus while Lisa was happy to go along for the ride. Months later, as Rick & Lisa fell in love with the space, they negotiated and agreed on a price with Mick & Helen Harris and became the proud new owners of 'Palmwoods Auto Care' in 2002.
While operating the space as a workshop was fine, there was always a vision for something greater for the couple. Through the 4 years to follow, they tested the market, adding a general convenience store, DVD shop and at one point even selling 2nd hand furniture. Unfortunately none of them worked and each failed attempt slowly sent them further backwards.
In 2006 the couple decided to try and sell the business and freehold for $330k but couldn’t generate any interest.
It was a desperate time financially and in 2007 they were sadly forced to sell their family home to cover some accumulating debt. To make matters worse, changes to State regulations forced the permanent closure of the petrol bowsers, relinquishing a valuable source of income.
The couple were at a loss. They moved their 2 boys above the Garage and frantically moved to repurpose the premises. Lisa had a bright idea, and applied for a liquor and food license which fortunately in a matter of months they were approved. The couple set off spending what proceeds were left from the sale of their house into rebranding the space.
A small bar was added with additional dining space, the workshop was moved to the back of the building, still there today and 'Ricks Garage' was born.
Fast forward to 2012, a small business rapidly growing into a local hotspot, the couple decided to redevelop their neighbouring scrap yard into what is now called the 'Beer Garden'. At the time Rick, Lisa, Ben and Tama were still living upstairs the garage, with a now grown family and the demand for their famous burgers and icy cold beers, the family decided to relocate their home and redevelopment of the upstairs area into the 'Whiskey Bar'.
Ben and Tama both qualified carpenters set out to do most of the work themselves to keep costs down. Years to follow saw the boys' involvement in the business increase, as they sought to structure the operation and bring their families vision and brand to life. With their son's successes, Rick and Lisa’s involvement was able to confidently reduce and after many years the couple set their sights on a new challenge, building their dream home in the family’s home country of New Zealand for retirement.
Today, Ben and Tama continue to challenge the brand and develop their story. As the family business continues to grow, the involvement from each of the boy's partners, Bonnie and Rhiannon, are an ongoing part of the success. A true family business.
The most recent addition to Ricks Garage has been 'Ricks Bakehouse'. With courage, the boys opened the new addition during COVID to offer freshly made baked goods, sandwiches and great coffee seven days a week. The 2 boys are ambitious as they continue to develop the Garage, and are constantly looking for new ways to fulfil their customers' craving for entertainment and great food. Which moved them into creating their own Australian-made Merchandise.
20 Years on, Ricks Garage has become an institution for car enthusiasts, vintage vehicle culture, hot rodders, bikers, tourists and anyone in between. Once a dedicated dream, into a small local business, Ricks Garage is now one of the largest hospitality venues on the Sunshine Coast, employing over 90 team members.
Their passionate team serves thousands of meals a week and caters to some of the world's largest car brands.
As their team continues to grow the original vision for Ricks Garage remains the same. You, the customer, sit at the centre of everything they do. The satisfaction they get by people being blown away by their creation, their service, or taking that first delicious bite from one of their famous burgers is the driving force.
"So please, grab a beer, grab a burger, sit back and listen to some great tunes."
Welcome to our Garage,