Man About Town
Making a lot of money, losing excessive amounts of money and budgeting to make money, Cameron Scott has seen it all. And it’s this early exposure that has served him well and put him in good stead to establish and drive his own businesses, while seeing the Nambour township thrive.
Sitting at a wooden table and chairs lit by vintage lamps, the space is decked out in furniture reminiscent of my childhood, with homemade pizzas served on mismatched crockery and a friendly inviting atmosphere luring customers through the door.
In walks Cameron Scott, shaking hands with regular customers as he makes his way through, he knows them all by name. You see, Nook and Cranny isn’t just his, it belongs to them too, and it represents the long-awaited revival of the Nambour township.
Cameron grew up in Bli Bli, where he attended the local primary school, before moving to Nambour and seeing his senior school years out at Nambour high school. Upon graduating, Cameron completed his Bachelor in Accounting and Bachelor in Finance before looking after the books for a coffee-importing company here on the Coast.
This bar means a lot to a lot of people, it symbolises the change going on in town and that’s why we have to be very conscious of what we do.”
But he craved a richer lifestyle and when he was 21, moved to Melbourne where he worked as an accountant and became one of 10 people to be accepted into a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “I was told by my father (to study accounting) and learn how to do business properly because growing up we were going through a business failure so we had a rough time in a business sense,” he says. “So accounting for me was learning how to do business properly and learn from somebody else.”
One of Cameron’s first jobs was working for a young Chinese millionaire who invested heavily in restaurants. “He wanted to develop as many as he could and make them really cool and that’s where I learnt how to lose a lot of money but not care about it,” he says.
Cameron left that job to become the accountant for lucrative company Boost Juice. “Budgeting to make money was a really weird scenario for me, I always thought whatever comes in is what it is,” he says, “but I learnt I can actually make an algorithm for how much to make.”
At the time, Cameron was simultaneously studying for his Masters and left the juice bar to pursue a few businesses he was developing. While some of them fizzled, one prospered – Energy Australia, and after a year of growing the renewable technology company, Cameron sold it and moved back to the Sunshine Coast in 2013.
Along with gaining a valuable insight into how different business owners handle their money, Cameron found Victoria to be a melting pot for fostering young entrepreneurs and through the Foundation of Young Australians was introduced to a bevy of politicians and actors. “That was my introduction to real wealth. Before that I thought $1000 a week was really good and then I found out there’s a huge amount of money out there. “It has only been six years of my working life, but I’ve been exposed to really weird and wonderful things.”
Upon moving back to the Coast, Cameron and his best friend looked into opening a bar. “We looked at Mooloolaba and just didn’t like it, there is too much risk and uncertainty because Maroochydore is starting to pick up and the landlords were horrendous to deal with. So we decided to turn around and try something a bit harder and a bit different and come to Nambour.”
It took nine months to build Nook and Cranny, delivering a unique restaurant and bar experience moulded to the township. “This bar means a lot to a lot of people, it symbolises the change going on in town and that’s why we have to be very conscious of what we do. “Anyone in business needs to take it head-on and needs to become a part of the community as well, because when you’re really quiet or you open up a new business it’s these people you know personally who are going to come in the first time and give you honest feedback. “With our second restaurant Downtown, the first three weeks were people we knew who we’d met through Nook and Cranny, who were coming and supporting us.”
Cameron’s mind is bursting with prospective business ideas and says he’s at the point now – does he continue investing in Nambour or does he sow his seeds further afield? But one thing is for certain, he envisions big things for Nambour in the next two years. “When you push people down for long enough they want to do something about it and I think that’s what’s happened with Nambour,” he says. “You can see that across the world with the meat-packing district in New York and Fitzroy in Melbourne, there’s this real grassroots movement and you can’t replicate that, it happens in industrial towns once the industry has left. “It’s exciting to see people start to do these little things and tweak their businesses so they become competitive and I like that, it’s what Nambour has needed, that little bit of hunger and competition, which has made the whole town better. “I do and I don’t like the word entrepreneur, people think it’s wussy but I kind of like it and it holds to what I am – I’m not a business owner, I’m an entrepreneur because I develop businesses in different industries.”
So where will Cameron stake his claim next? Watch this space.