Two new Ipswich businesses point to Qld boom
THE gel blaster craze that is sweeping Queensland continues apace and it's no different in Ipswich.
Two stores - Command Elite Hobbies Ipswich and M4A1gelblaster.com - have opened in the city in the last few weeks.
M4A1gelblaster.com is based at 177 Brisbane Rd, Booval, and Command Elite Hobbies Ipswich in the city centre at 96 Brisbane St.
The Booval business, which also has stores in South Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, Adelaide, Toowoomba and Wynnum, styles itself as the "number one gel blaster supplier in Australia".
A spokesman for the company told Queensland Times business is booming.
"It's just absolutely crazy, it's very popular," he said. "It's seven days a week non-stop."
"We've had people from as far away as Rockhampton drive in to buy blasters.
"We have a staff of five at the new store where we offer a full range of products and service."
He said the huge interest is all down to the popularity of the sport.
"Everybody loves it," he said. "We've got whole families playing it. Kids are getting off the couch and even veterans are having a go. It has taken Queensland by storm."
Command Elite Hobbies' marketing manager Grant Pidgeon was in complete agreement.
"There are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of players across state," Pidgeon said. "Queensland's where it is at when it comes to gel ball.
Command Elite Hobbies Ipswich has a head office and warehouse in Salisbury but moved out west to cater for the growing demand.
"We like to consider ourselves a one stop shop for gel ball.
"We cater for kids, mums and dads looking to shoot around in the back yard but also the competitive players who might play in a league.
Jemma and Colin Corcoran are the owners of the company and Kyle Ward the manager of the Ipswich store.
"Anyone coming into the shop can buy a gel blaster, gel balls - orbbz - masks and face protection, you can basically get anything you need for your level of gel ball.
"Opening in Ipswich was a no brainer for us as many of our customers are from Laidley, Ipswich, Toowoomba. And rather than having them drive all the way to Salisbury, we decided to open the Ipswich business."
The Ipswich store has two full time staff and three casuals."Business is gong really, really well," Pidgeon said. "The sport keeps growing from strength to strength.
"It's very popular. It's filling that niche that paintball used to fill.
"It's a lot less harmful than paintball, there's no bruising.
"It's also more accessible than paintball as it's a lot cheaper.
"A gel blaster and gel balls for six months will set you back less than $300, whereas with paintball you could be running into a couple of hundred dollars for a single session."
Although the sport has had its fair share of controversy of late with gel blasters likened to replica weapons, Pidgeon concluded: "fortunately for the Queensland companies gel blasters and gel balls are classified as toys and that has allowed us to open stores and grow our businesses."