Life’s a Treat for young Secret Harbour entrepreneur

Young Chicken Treat franchisee Michael Chidlow with his staff Skye Hawke, Bree Hawke and John Carr.
Young Chicken Treat franchisee Michael Chidlow with his staff Skye Hawke, Bree Hawke and John Carr.

RIDING his bike with friends down to the local Chicken Treat store, Michael Chidlow often dreamt of one day owning it.

Now in his late 20s he owns two: Secret Harbour Chicken Treat, including that childhood local, Waikiki.

At age 22 he was the youngest person to own a franchise when he bought the Secret Harbour store in 2010.

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Just four years later he bought the Waikiki store – realising his childhood dream.

“I always thought ‘I would love to own one of them one day’,” he said.

Between both stores they employ 40 staff all of whom live around the area and are aged between 14 and 27.

He said his career path was inspired by his parents.

“Both my parents were involved in businesses,” he said.

“At the time they owned a 24-hour convenience store in Kardinya. Whenever I could I would go and work with them.

“I got a lot of insight into all aspects of owning and running a business and I really enjoyed it.”

Michael said running a business required a multi-faceted approach but the most important aspect are the staff.

“I’m only one person – I have to give them credit. They make all this possible,” he said.

“Recognition is the best motivation. I always try and do things with the staff.

“We have regular activities outside of work; we have been to adventure world, have the Chicken Treat river cruise on the Swan River once a year or go bowling.

“These are important things. I don’t just want them to go to work. I want them to go to work happy. I want it to be a happy environment. And it’s worked.

“I pay a lot of credit to my staff – I like doing it and I have a lot of time for them.”

Born and bred in Rockingham, Michael went to Warnbro Community College and has a sense of connection to the area.

“The Rockingham community is very important,” he said. “We have an ongoing sponsorship with the Secret Harbour Board riders club but we do try to mix and match where we support other local sporting groups such as the Rockingham City Football Club,” he said.

“We are supporting the Mundijong Football Club this year.”