Just a few years ago Terry Wilcher designed a ticket selling system for his daughter’s school event. Last week, the business that grew from that small start, 123TIX, won a Regional Chamber of Commerce award and is now going to the state titles.
On Monday, Terry was presented an $18,000 cheque by NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall for his Best Kept Secret event, the state government hoping this seed funding will establish it as a regular event and help it grow.
“The Best Kept Secret was started last year. I came to the Gaol and wanted to run an event to bring people to the Gaol and also to Dubbo,” Mr Wilcher said.
“We’ve now created the name ‘Gaolbreak’ as the event. The idea is to bring talented musicians to Dubbo that actually have a connection with Dubbo, but also bring people from outside the Dubbo region to come and stay in accommodation in Dubbo – come and do our event and go to other tourism attractions while they’re here,” he explained.
The whirlwind success of 123TIX has taken Terry by surprise. It’s just four years since he set up his business which has simplified the selling of tickets to all sorts of events.
“Sometimes I pinch myself. I took a back seat for many years while I raised my children. I always had ideas of stuff to do but didn’t have the time or will to do it while my kids were growing up, but they’re all at school now and the last couple of years have been pretty amazing,” he said.
Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright said Terry’s success has been great for the city.
“(Terry has been) brave enough to be able to take on some of the big fellas, especially in that ticketing type industry. He saw an opportunity there and was brave enough to step out and challenge what was normally expected from that type of business,” Mr Wright said.
“People who do this in Dubbo know they’ve got the support of the community. It’s a great initiative and I congratulate him for it.”
Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said he made a speech in parliament about Terry’s success last week and believes it’s an indicator there’s nothing you can’t do if you live west of the divide.
“Dubbo’s the perfect place for that innovation and businesses who want to take on the world, and that’s what Terry and many others in Dubbo are doing,” Mr Grant said.
“Gaolbreak is just another opportunity in the event’s space for people to come along and enjoy something a little bit different, and the work that he’s done to put it together has impressed the funders through NSW Tourism. The Incubator Fund is all about that – giving new ideas, new events, new opportunities the funding to turn them in to ongoing events. So this is going to be another special attraction and another event for Dubbo.
“The story is a remarkable one. Terry started to build the business in 2014 and he’s taken on the big guys, all started to help an event for his daughter. So to go from that in such a short period of time to take on the big corporates now in the ticketing space, and to win the regional award and now go on to the state awards, is a massive accomplishment,” Mr Grant said.