Hedges Sports Store
40 Cunningham Street. Dalby Q 4405 Ph (07) 46623078
After building two new squash courts to continue their already successful Squash Club, Brian and Shirley Hedge fell upon their sporting goods business almost by accident. It was in 1974, whilst the two new courts were under construction, when the idea was floated that rather than finishing the fourth squash court they open a sports store instead. A shop front was added to the rear of the fourth court facing Dalby’s main Cunningham Street and within months the shop was fitted out, stocked and ready for trading. In April 1974, Hedge’s opened its doors for the first time and was humbled by the overwhelming response from the community.
“We kept having ladies into the squash courts asking for sports dresses and squash outfits, there was nowhere in town with anything like that.” Shirley recalls. “We had ordered five sports dresses for our first day of business, and I can honestly tell you that by 5pm every single one was gone.” Driven by demand and the community’s support, Hedge’s Sports Store continued to expand. Supplying quality clothing, footwear and sporting goods, the Hedges’ developed their niche and made a name for themselves in Dalby.
They soon started stocking a large range of bikes and began a trophies and engraving department. More room was needed, so the shop at 40 Cunningham Street was purchased. Opened on the first day of the 1981 flood, Brian remembers the worry they felt as the water rose, hoping their brand new shop wouldn’t go under on its first day. Between then and now, the store has moved between the two addresses 40 Cunningham and 145 Cunningham numerous times, even being in both places at once for many years. “It was just too difficult running two stores at different ends of the street. It was demanding having different holidays and lunch hours. We would never see each other,” Shirley recounts. So in the early 2000s the decision was made to have the entire family and all of the stock under one roof again, and they relocated the entire business to the larger 40 Cunningham Street premises. “We have been here for over ten years, and our business has continued to grow.”
With a growing family and growing business plenty of help was needed on the shop floor. Brian recounts that all of their five children have worked in the store as well as many of their grandchildren. Youngest son Bruce and daughter-in-law Kylie are now partners in the business and share the passion and vision for the future of the sports store. “We’ve always been involved in sports and cycling, so its very rewarding being able to provide families and athletes with everything they need to lead physical and active lifestyles,” said Kylie.
It seems that a passion for sport runs in the family. Brian’s father was a well known tennis coach and ran his own small sports store in Toowoomba. “I grew up around sports stores, and with people who had a passion for sport. Our children have grown up just the same.” He insists that leading an active lifestyle and keeping busy will keep you young and healthy.
Brian has played a pivotal role in sourcing funding for the development of much of Dalby’s sporting infrastructure. Whilst serving as Alderman for the Dalby Town Council he played a pivotal role in fundraising for the Dalby Community Centre – now the PCYC. “I remember sitting out on the street in front of the shop selling raffle tickets day after day,” says Shirley. “He was determined. There were meat trays, raffles, you name it. Until we were finally able to get enough government funding to subsidize the rest of the build.” During the opening gala dinner the name of the main stadium was revealed – ‘THE BRIAN HEDGE STADIUM’ – a great achievement for someone whose future to participate in sport was jeopardized at a young age. During a short stint as a butcher at age 18, Brian lost his right hand. However, this setback did little to hinder his ability to play squash and golf professionally. He has done so for many years with the aid of a self-designed prosthetic. “Nothing could keep me from playing sports,” said Brian.
During his 18 years of service as an Alderman, Brian has chaired the National Fitness Council. He has also served one term as Deputy Mayor. Brian and Shirley have sponsored and supported many of Dalby’s sporting clubs and insist that sport contributes to a strong sense of community. A notion Brian has certainly embodied as proud recipient of the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his contribution to the sport of squash.
After nearly 40 years of service to the community, the Hedge’s and their team still maintain that quality products and unbeatable service at affordable prices lead to customer satisfaction and repeat business. There is no doubt that, even with new direction, the values and visions Brian and Shirley had on their first day of business will continue to run deep throughout the store.
Hedge's Sports Store in it’s original location 1970s.
Purchase of the larger premises at 40 Cunningham Street, early 1980s.
Shirley displaying their range of rackets and golf wear, 1994.
20 year Anniversary SALE Aug 1994