| 101 Topflite Plenty to celebrate for Oamaru firm T Richard Loader Topflite’s roots go back to 1974 when the first sunflower crops were planted at Rosedale Farm in Oamaru. OTAGO BUSINESS AWARDS Laser Electrical - Oamaru & Duntroon 3 Ouse Street, Oamaru Ph: 03 434 7273 • Residential • Industrial & Commercial • Rural & Dairy • Heat pumps • Servicing available 24 hours Proud to support Topflite Ltd T opflite’s selection as a finalist in last year’s Westpac Otago Business Awards in the Excellence in Primary Industries category was a major boost to the company’s brand profile, general manager Greg Webster says. Based in Oamaru, Topflite is a leading producer and distributor of quality birdseed and small pet food products throughout New Zealand. “The awards received a lot of coverage local- ly and made people aware that we are a local Otago business. “That’s especially important in a world where people like to support home grown and local businesses.” Greg says the awards’ process also helped the business reflect on its business strategies and achievements and to recognise there were things to celebrate. “It’s great recognition of the good work done by the team and the end results they are producing. When you’re up against other high performing businesses in the region, being a finalist provided the confidence that what we were doing is right up there. “The awards also provided us with oppor- tunities to network with other businesses keen to work with us on various projects or to support us going forward.” A family owned and operated business, people form the heart and soul of Topflite and a lot of emphasis is placed on caring for people and nurturing the team spirit. “People are everything in a business. Having our culture right with good structures and lines of communication enables upwards and downwards open communication. “But it’s easier to say that rather than make it happen within a business — it’s something we aspire to and try to encourage so that everyone on the team feels part of the team. Whoever they are they might just have an idea that is really useful for the business.” Topflite’s roots go back to 1974 when the first sunflower crops were planted at Rosedale Farm in Oamaru. Owned by the Mitchells and Websters, the families worked together to prepare the land and sow the seeds. The Topflite brand was developed in the ‘90s when the wholesale and marketing operations of birdseed were established but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the business was established as a family owned and oper- ated Limited Liability Company. “As Topflite got bigger, the marketing/ wholesale business split off from the farm but it’s still owned by the Webster/Mitchell fam- ilies with my wife Carolyn and I having 50% ownership and my cousin Peter Mitchell and his wife Sandra owning the other 50%.” Distributing to more than 700 customers throughout New Zealand - including major pet food chains, rural supply merchants and independent businesses - Topflite’s products now include birdseed, rabbit and guinea pig food. “We also do chicken food including a range of treats for chickens like dried insects and some pecking blocks. “We’re also the distributors for a range of cat and dog food, some of which is imported.” Looking to the future, Greg says holding on to family values and ensuring new people coming into the business understand the Topflite culture of a positive outlook and pro- viding a quality product and service underpins everything.