Taking care of business
Having owned a fish’n’chip shop, a pizza shop, movie stores and a lawn mowing business, Bunbury resident Russell Donovan has been involved in many businesses throughout his lifetime.
“I left school end of Year 10 and was an apprentice cook from 1982 until 1983. I was only 14-15 at the time, then left there and went to Big W which had only been open for four years,” Russell said.
“I always wanted to be a cook, greenkeeper or a cop, very weird I know.”
Russell is a born and bred Bunbury boy, completing his schooling days at primary and high schools locally.
“I was born in Bunbury, went to Carey Park Primary and Newton Moore Senior High School and left at the end of Year 10,” Russell said.
“I only went to Big W because I only ever (just) passed everything at school, I never excelled, just managed to pass, so I just went to Big W and got a job in the sporting goods department and loved it over there – it was like a holiday.
“I was there for eight years and within two years I was in a senior management role and was pretty young to be in a management role.”
After Russell proved to himself he was more than capable of fulfilling senior positions from a young age, he decided he wanted to work for himself.
“I won a national competition through Big W and got a free trip to New Zealand and then at the same time I wanted to go into business and work for myself,” Russell said.
“So I bought Beach Road Fish’n’Chips ... but I wanted to go on the holiday before I started, but because I had bought this shop through Lighthouse Realty, a real estate agency back then, they said anyone that buys a property off us in January goes in the draw to win a $1500 travel voucher.
“I was laying in bed one morning and John K. Watts read out our name, so we got the holiday to New Zealand free plus $1500 spending money.”
Not only did he start running his own fish’n’chip shop, Russell also decided to open a video store.
“So I started at Beach Road Fish’n’Chips and I was in that for five years, from 1992 to 1997, in 1996 I opened a video store at the same time in Sandridge Village,” he said.
“I started with the one small shop and then expanded to take up about four shops, so we became Video Ezy or some might have known us as Movie World.”
Many people would see the typical working day as 8am to 5pm but Russell would go straight from one job to another.
“I would start working in the morning and I would come home when the fish’n’chip shop would finish at 8pm, have a shower and go to the video store until 12pm,” he said. “I then got out of the business and started working at a timber mill and doing a lawn mowing round with my father.”
No rest for the wicked, Russell then sold the fish’n’chip shop and opened Bunbury and Collie Eagle Boys pizza, while still running his lawn mowing business.
“So we would drive to Collie maybe two to three times a week, plus running the Bunbury store, but we would run the lawn mowing business during the day and the pizza shop at night,” Russell said.
Russell always had an interest in sport, now taking on the role of director at the South West Slammers and being on the board of Basketball South West.
“I do coaching roles and I’m quite involved with the Slammers with my daughters having played,” he said.
“My sport was actually motocross and I competed since I was six all over the State, winning a few national titles.”
After being in real estate for more than 15 years, Russell has worked in many roles and now finds himself as a sales representative at Summit Realty in the heart of the CBD.
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