211Derks Produce at Thirlmere was started in 1972 by Dutch immigrant Mario Derks. In 1991 Mario’s son Bill with his wife Joan took over the business and expanded what was a small family business into a very successful operation.

The Thirlmere business grew and prospered and in 2005 the Derks decided to expand and opened Derks Pet Supplies on Argyle in Picton. While the Thilmere business focuses on supply to rural properties with horses and livestock, the Picton business specialises in domestic pets and reptiles and aquariums.

Born in Liverpool but moving to the Central Coast of NSW when she was 6 years old Joan had little experience of rural life. Often not knowing the answers to questions she was being asked by customers she decided to hold an information day. The Derks Field Days were extremely successful and ran for ten years. At the ninth Field Day over 7,000 people attended in one day!

Winning the Dr Harry Competition was another major success for the business. To honour television veterinarian Dr Harry’s visit Joan and her team organised a mini Field Day and over 4,500 people came to meet Dr Harry and to receive information on how to care for their animals and domestic pets.

Derks continues to hold regular information nights to educate staff in the correct care and management of pets so they can better assist customers in their day to day enquiries. The team that Bill and Joan have assembled can handy almost any enquiry due to the special knowledge each staff member has.

Joan strongly believes that customer service is the key to the success of the business. Derks remains a local business, employing locals, providing a service to the local community.

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