Quiet suburb undergoing major business transformation

THERE'S something fishy going on at West Ipswich.

There's burgers and chips too as the previously industrial suburb is transforming into a convenience and fast food business hub.

What used to be home to industrial businesses, vacant blocks, empty warehouses and an old pub and beer garden is now a hive of new business activity.

The transformation started a year ago when an old mechanics workshop was knocked down to make way for a petrol station, gym, Hungry Jacks, Zaraffas drive through and some speciality stores on Brisbane Rd.

The development trend then moved on down the street when the site of the old One Mile Hotel started to be transformed into another petrol station, Anaconda store and Carl's Jr Burger.

Around the corner, family business man Ian Thai bought a vacant lot and developed it into a mini shopping centre with two lease spaces including his own fish and chip store, Charlie De Cod.

He'll beat his international neighbours to the opening day deadline, however, with plans in place to serve the first customers this month.

Carl's Jr Burger is expected to open in June.

There's been some other changes too, with TK Maxx taking over the old Trade Secret store last year, investors snapping up an existing shopping centre, Metro Fuel taking over a petrol station on Brisbane St and family business Pets in Peace also taking up place across the street.

Businessman Ian Thai is no stranger to making his mark on the small business industry but he isn't worried about a bit of healthy competition.

"I think it's great," he said.

"The suburb has been transformed when there used to be not much here.

"People used to not want to come here at night, there was no reason too and they thought it wasn't safe but that's all changed."

West Ipswich business timeline

February 2017: Zaraffas Coffee opens

The drawn-out construction process was about two months overdue, with initial forecasts predicting a pre-Christmas opening.

Zaraffas opened in 2017.
Zaraffas opened in 2017.

Local roadworks were blamed for the delay.

March 2017: TK Maxx takes over Trade Secret

RENNOVATIONS at Ipswich's Trade Secret store finished in preparation for the takeover by international department store TK Maxx in March 2017.

Parent company TJX has bought out Australian discount brand Trade Secret and plans to convert its 35 stores to the TK Maxx brand.

TK Maxx in America
TK Maxx in America Contributed

June 2017: Pets in Peace opens

THE generation-old tradition of digging a hole in the backyard to bury Muffy, Nibbles or Scruffy is fast being replaced with a more human approach to sending off the beloved family pet.

The family-owned and run business has been meeting the demands of pet owners in other parts of south east Queensland since 1999 but opened their doors in Ipswich for the first time in 2017.

The site is the first of its kind where families can host a funeral for their pet.

August 2017: Metro Fuel Opens

THE bowsers are on their hooks, packs of chips line the shelves and petrol was ready to flow at a new West Ipswich petrol station.

After months of construction, in which the underground fuel tank was dug-up, the old Freedom Fuels on Brisbane St West Ipswich has been re-branded as Metro Petroleum. 

In August the wire fences blocking the driveway were pulled down and patches in the cement were filled in as workers were busy packing fridges and shelves with typical petrol station snacks.

September 2017: Construction starts at old pub site

NOT even days of severe thunderstorms will delay the city's newest Carl's Jr Burger opening.

Construction is well underway at the new site at One Mile, the second in Ipswich after the Redbank Plains store opened in January.

Builders are on track to finish work ahead of the grand opening scheduled in June.

Outdoor and adventure specialist Anaconda will also take a place, alongside Bridgestone Tyres and a 7 Eleven in the new bulky goods  precinct on Hooper St.  

January 2018: Ipswich Homebase sold

CENTRE SOLD: Ipswich Homebase at West Ipswich sold for $36.25 million.
CENTRE SOLD: Ipswich Homebase at West Ipswich sold for $36.25 million. Contributed

A SUBURABN Ipswich shopping centre has sold for close to $37 million.

Ipswich Homebase at West Ipswich sold for $36.25 million this week, close to $14 million more than what it sold for five years ago.

The centre is home to Fantastic Furniture, Spotlight, Forty Winks, Chemist Warehouse, T.K. Maxx and IGA supermarket and last sold in February 2013 for $23.5 million.

May 2018: Charlie De Cod opens


Thuy Dam, Leon Thai and Ian Thai are back in Ipswich at Charlie de Cod at the new building on the corner of Hooper and Pound Street in West Ipswich.
Thuy Dam, Leon Thai and Ian Thai are back in Ipswich at Charlie de Cod at the new building on the corner of Hooper and Pound Street in West Ipswich. Rob Williams

CHIP oil practically runs in his veins and to prove it popular takeaway boss Ian Thai is opening up his second shop.

Businessman Mr Thai has spent his days working behind the cooker at four shops in Ipswich since 2003, including his newest venture at West Ipswich.

There are family-owned stores on Cemetery Rd at Newtown and at Winston Glades.

Now he's opened a second Charlie De Cod on Hooper St after he sold the original business two years ago.

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