Born in Beaudesert, Jacqui Stephan still lives in the same street she grew up in, across the road from the house she lived in as a child.
She is the youngest of six children in the well known Gee family.
Growing up with brothers Andrew and Keith playing high level rugby league, Jacqui said she is a proud sister.
“It controlled our life because we went to a lot of sporting carnivals, but we got to see places in Australia we might not have been to otherwise,” she said.
“It was a positive experience, our house was always full of billets and friends.”
“Mum worked really hard and she made sure we always had what we needed.”
“She taught us if you work hard, you’ll achieve. She has unconditional love for us and she has shown us the way.”
Jacqui attended Beaudesert State School and Beaudesert State High School, leaving high school in Year 11.
Jacqui was a young mum, falling pregnant at 17 years of age, but says her family was incredibly supportive.
“I suppose it was different back then,” she said.
“It was hard, small town and that. I don’t know if there was any gossip or if I just shut myself off from it, but it didn’t really worry me.”
“We just got on and made it work.”
Baby Michael was nine months old when Jacqui married Karl Stephan in 1991 and they had two more children, Caitlyn and Hannah.
Having lived in the area all their lives, the couple decided to move to try life elsewhere.
They moved to Yeppoon for two years, which Jacqui said was a nice place but it didn’t feel like home.
They returned to the same street in Beaudesert and Jacqui worked at Rabar for six months before starting what would be a decade at Huebner Motors.
She worked as the Assistant to the Accountant, Darryl Dickson, and this is when she formed a close friendship with Karen Dickson-Morley who works for her now in Our Little Shop.
Darryl passed away in a tragic cycling accident and when the next Accountant passed away after a short illness, Jacqui stepped into the role.
“Then I pretended I was the accountant up there … never trained in that area, but I just did it,” she says.
“I loved working for that family. I learned so much.”
“Mark (Huebner) was the boss, Andy worked in service and they were just great people to work for. I learned a lot about business from them.”
She credits her experience with Huebner Motors as part of the reason she has done so well with Our Little Shop.
“I said to Mark a couple of weeks ago, you know how you always say ‘when you go and do something, go and do it right the first time? That costs money’!”
“He said ‘yes Jacqui, but its all done then’.”
“If you’re going to do it, do it right.”
Starting Our Little Shop was a dream Jacqui had for many years and when the Huebner family sold, she decided the time was right.
She feels she has been very lucky in life.
“I had a really fun childhood, a great time raising kids and I love being a grandparent.”