The SafetyQuip Story


SAFETYQUIP was founded in 1992 by Gary Shearer, who remains CEO to this day. As with most success stories, opportunity comes out of seeing a gap in the market.

Gary’s grounding and in safety started right back in the 1970’s as an ex-pat working in construction and project management throughout the globe on building projects of hospitals, hotels, and other commercial building assets. Exposure to a broad range of safety practices in the diverse locations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Barbados and New Zealand, was unknowingly laying the groundwork for the SafetyQuip business today.

The Journey

Returning home to New Zealand in 1985, Gary and Joan took on the challenge of growing an exclusive restaurant on beautiful Lake Taupo. Fortunately they timed the sale of their restaurant the very week before the 1987 stock market crash. Hearing of the new owner’s troubles just a year or so after the purchase, provided a lesson, as the downturn in the economy and the new owners being unsuitable for the business proved to be a poor combination. This entrepreneurial experience meant Gary was determined that if he ever went into his own business again that it would be in an industry sector with lower risk, and less prone to market fluctuations and the patronage of a customer base whose purchase patterns are not too susceptible economic ups and downs.

Moment of Inspiration

Moving to Australia, and choosing to settle in lovely Noosa, on the Sunshine Coast, Gary found work in project management with one of the coast’s largest builders. With his safety education from construction projects, Gary was surprised to find a lack of observance of basic safety practices and availability of PPE on the Sunshine Coast.

The true inspiration or spark for SafetyQuip came on the day Gary urgently needed safety products on-site, and the earliest they could be delivered from Brisbane was two days later. Clearly there was a need for a safety product provider on the coast.

After spending the next 15 months planning for the business which included the possibility of franchising, SafetyQuip was officially ‘born’ on 1st July 1992. Starting with a little yellow second hand Telstra van that was packed full of safety product daily, the business quickly outgrew a van-based operation, and their home, so the first Safety Centre was opened on the busiest road on the Sunshine Coast.

After 10 years of successfully operating and growing the business throughout the Sunshine Coast, and spent understanding the safety product distribution industry, it was decided that the concept was ready for expansion nationally by franchising.

Gary engaged with key experts and consultants in the industry to develop the franchise business model, and the business has continued to expand across the country, one location and franchise owner at a time.