A strategic opportunity born out of necessity
The evolution of Thorn Group into commercial property development and management was initially borne out of necessity. Since building his first warehouse in 2000, Jason has had a strong interest in construction – but the proceeds from selling another business from within Thorn Group portfolio in 2003 gave them the capital to start investing in property development.
“With that initial capital we purchased a couple of sheds but then we needed to build larger premises and the next thing you know we started buying blocks of land in North Lakes. We were the first developer to start something there and ended up developing a number of developments in what eventually become a Stockland masterplan community,” said Jason.
Since then, Thorn Group has purchased a number of strategically positioned blocks of land around Brisbane for commercial development – all with the support of BOQ Business.
Over the years, Thorn Group have accessed a full range of BOQ products and services ranging from commercial rate loans to international trade finance, equipment finance, business and home loans.
“We have partnered with Jason to support Thorn Group’s commercial and industrial developments as well as the transactional elements involved in the sale and acquisition of their previous businesses,” said Richard Cleaver, Corporate Relationship Executive at BOQ.
“For both Thorn Group and BOQ we’ve effectively been ‘all in’ and that’s meant Jason has had a clear understanding of the bank’s appetite and in return, we’ve had full transparency in terms of where they are headed,” Richard said.
The future looks bright for Thorn Group with recently completed developments including a medical centre at North Lakes and distribution facility at Brendale, another two new developments due for completion in 2021, and a pipeline of new development opportunities on the horizon.
A long-term partnership for success
“Whether it’s personal or business, all good relationships are based on mutual respect,” Jason said.
“Where BOQ really nail it is how they get involved with their customers. They don’t look at their customers as numbers based on the size of their portfolio, but instead form deep-seated relationships.
“Growing with the team at BOQ has really helped us grow our own business. And the reality is that being able to work directly with Richard and other senior BOQ leaders including Simon Davis, Brad White and Carl Classen has given us access to a level of expertise that we wouldn’t have had at a bigger bank,” Jason said.
Highlighting that the strong working relationship between Thorn Group and BOQ has been built on mutual trust, understanding and transparency, Richard also said, “Jason has made it easy for us in terms of early engagement with full disclosure, access to information and their professional partners (including their accountants and lawyers), and a clear picture of what they intend to do.”
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on a previously busy travel schedule, Jason says Thorn Group has never been busier. “We still have to see how the world shakes out of the pandemic, but right now there are so many opportunities in front of us.”
When it comes to offering advice to other small businesses, Jason says, “Everybody always says you need a good accountant and that’s definitely true. But you also need a great bank that is able to understand your vision and be there for you at every juncture. The thing is when you can see opportunities, you need to have a good team around you,” said Jason.
“It’s all about relationships and if the relationships are right and the cultural fit is right, the rest will take care of itself.