- 03From Humble Beginnings
- 06His early years
- 07A young entrepreneur
- 09The spark had been ignited
- 12There was no stopping him
- 14Maz’s Autos is born
- 15The turning point
- 16To Maz, family always comes first
- 18Branching out
- 19Welcome to the UAE
- 23His success in his Victories
- 27Graham Gamer - The Auctioneer
- 28Graham tells how he and Maz became lifelong friends
- 31Barry Parish - A background
- 33David Attwells - Alliance Motors Auctions
- 34Maz’s story as told by David Attwells.
From humble beginnings is the story of one of the most successful Businessmen in Sydney’s bustling Automotive industry and how a troubled teen from Bonnyrigg made it all the way to a luxury super yacht in Dubai.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to meet Maz, you’d know that he has a presence about him that is rarely seen in this world. He is larger than life, appreciative of his surroundings and truly humbled by the support and encouragement he’s received along the way. He is one of the most generous, yet demanding men you will ever meet and if you spend a little time to sit with him and hear his life story you’ll realise that this highly successful, motivated and amazing man started his life in a less than idyllic setting.
Maz is the proof that everyone has a little spark, you just need to know how to ignite it.
His way of thinking ahead and creating opportunities outside of the norm saw him thrown out of numerous schools. His mother worried that he would end up on the streets, or in jail before he could reach adulthood. Maz on the other hand had other plans, and they were grand plans.
By the age of 12, while all his friends were riding pushbikes down the street, he was buying them at auction and doing them up. He would then sell them for a profit. It was this first step into the land of sales where Maz started learning about buying, refurbishing and selling. By the age of 15 he had left school (with a little help from the school) and started thinking of the next step in his plan, cars. Every time they threatened to kick him out of school his mum would cry and beg them to give him another chance, but in the end the Principal had just had enough of a wayward teen with no desire to be in his classes. Maz was out in the world now, ready to take it on head first.
If we throw back to his upbringing, you’ll find him in a housing commission house in Bonnyrigg with his mum and his 5 siblings struggling to find his place in a word full of rules that he had no way of understanding. Maz is, and always was the creator of his own universe. He didn’t only not follow the rules, he made his own, broke them, bent them and then re-made them until they fit the landscape he envisioned in his mind.
From the moment he left school he had a plan. He needed to get into the car industry and find some contacts that were willing to take a young entrepreneur under their wing and believe in him as much as he believed in himself.
It was these early days of learning the ropes and growing his knowledge that Maz met Barry and Bill Parish. Maz started spray painting for them in Tangerine Street, Villawood. When the Parishes moved from spraypainting to selling cars and opened a car yard in Merrylands opposite the train station Maz saw his calling. So began his transformation from a boy and a bike, to a man and a motor.
FROM RIGHT MAZ HADDAD, BARRY PARISH STANDS IN THE MIDDLE AND TOWARDS THE LEFT MAZ'S FATHER
Once he knew the game and knew he was destined for
bigger things he journeyed to Newcastle and met a man by
the name of Graham Gamer. Graham would eventually become a life long friend, mentor and business associate to a young Maz, but at the time Graham didn’t quite realise just how special this young guy from Bonnyrigg would turn out to be.
Graham owned an auction company called Valley Auctions and was a highly successful businessman in his own right. He met a young Maz and thought there was no harm in giving this young kid from Sydney a break, so he allowed him to travel up to Newcastle and buy cars from him at auction.
Almost instantly Graham saw the determination and passion in Maz and knew he had to do what he could to allow Maz to follow his dream and take on the market. Maz couldn’t go much further without a dealers licence and he seemed far too young to be granted one, but Graham knew that Barry and Bill Parish would be happy for Maz to trade under their licence for a while.
Once Maz had the all clear to buy and sell as many cars as he could he was unstoppable. In the end he was a regular at Valley Motor Auctions and was so charismatic that Graham started buying cars for him and telling him to pay him once they were sold, which Maz did time and time again. (Graham still has a huge amount of respect for Maz and you can read what he says in his own words here).
While he was buying cars from Graham, Maz met David Attwells, owner of Enfield Motor Auctions. David also saw the potential in a young Maz and started allowing him to purchase cars through him, even giving cars to him on consignment.
When you speak with David, he tells the story of a young entrepreneur that had such a desire to succeed that “you couldn’t help but want to help him.” David Attwells stated. Maz was only about 16 at the time, but David took a liking to this young guy from Lebanon and said “You could tell by his drive and his ability that he would succeed, and quickly.” He was so charismatic in fact that they became close friends and started socialising outside of work. David admits that back then, “Maz was a bit of a scallywag, but a likable one.”
Davids Business partner Wayne Hardy-Smith remembers Maz as “A young man that was so motivated that he gave you confidence in his ability before you even saw what he could do.”
Both Maz and David bought boats and their families would go out on weekends together. David and Maz are still close friends, catching up whenever Maz is back in Australia. David told his story and you can read it here.
Maz was getting so good at his trade that auction houses started giving him 7, 14 and even 21 days credit. This was unheard of in the
industry, yet the auctions knew that Maz could significantly increase their turnover and he was trustworthy enough that they allowed him to take cars and pay for them up to 3 weeks later.
He was selling so many cars and was such an unstoppable force that his mum begged him to stop the trucks turning up loaded with cars to their Bonnyrigg home. She thought if they didn’t stop they would be kicked out.
But that didn’t stop him, before he was old enough to vote, he was finding premises to become a full time Salesman and his old friend Barry Parish was more than happy to help out. Maz approached Barry with a grand plan. Let Maz place his cars in his yard and he would give him 50% of the profits, it turned out to be a fantastic investment.
A force such as Maz is unstoppable. His mind is like a runaway train on a never ending track that never runs out of steam. He seems to be able to juggle hundreds of balls without ever dropping one, or letting anyone down.
By the time he turned 18 he had made such an impact on Graham Gamer and David Attwells that they told him it was time to forge his own path and go out on his own. Maz achieved the unthinkable, he applied for and was granted his motor dealers licence. Back then he was the youngest person ever to be granted a licence for the buying and selling of cars, but who can be surprised when everything Maz ever dreamt of and worked towards became possible.
If there was ever anyone that doubted his ability, they were quickly eating their words.
Although Maz was successful, it sometimes wasn’t easy. He was not only called into consumer affairs, he also had to turn up at the department of fair trading so they could make sure this young gentleman was the real thing.
Once his licence was granted Maz set out to find himself his own yard where he could build a brand that would eventually become a talking point with a reach far beyond the waters of Australia.
There was a yard in Cabramatta on the Hume Hwy that caught Maz’s eye. Back then it was owned by a man named Don Hodge. Don Hodge owned half the Hume Hwy and didn’t know of Maz, as far as he could see he was just a young kid with a pipe dream, until he started to receive a few calls. Graham gave Don a call and vouched for Maz and at the same time David, who was buying cars off Don, also called and told him to give Maz a go.
Those 2 recommendations were enough to secure Maz his first ever car yard, (323 Hume Hwy, Cabramatta). He was paying $4,000 a month rent and there was a 2br apartment upstairs which became his home. His stock continued to come from Graham at Valley Motor Auctions, as well as from David and as he sold them, he would pay them back.
Although 323 Hume Hwy would become his first and most successful yard, he expanded into many more, His second yard came 4 yrs later at 126 Hume Hwy, and from there he couldn’t be stopped. Expansion was in his mind and at one stage he owned and operated up to 7 yards in Sydney.
Maz was now in his late 20’s and had met and married a young woman along the way. The turning point for Maz happened when he was 31, newly divorced and on holidays in Lebanon. Maz met a businessman who presented him with an opportunity to go abroad and start exporting cars. Maz jumped at the chance to keep learning his trade and expanding his knowledge, so off he went to America where he began exporting cars to South Africa, of all places.
He moved from Australia to Lebanon, and rented a unit in Miami, Florida. He spent his weeks between the 2 countries for a couple of years. Whilst his time in South Africa was brief, his experience was one reserved for the movies. In 2 short years with much success under his belt, Maz went through some horrific ordeals. He contracted Malaria at one stage and became very ill. As he recovered from his illness and on yet another trip to the country he was kidnapped by his own staff. Luckily for him, his staff took a bribe to set him free. This would be the first of 2 kidnappings in this unforgiving country. Despite these terrifying incidents he continued to export to Africa and eventually became one of the largest car exporters in the region. He continued his journey until in 2007 tragedy would bring him home to Australia.
In 2006, tragedy would hit the Haddad family and news got to Maz in America that his father had been hit by a truck and passed away whilst he was overseas. Maz grabbed the next flight home to be with his mother and siblings and it was then that his mother begged him to stay in Australia and look after the family.
Maz agreed and contacted his old friend David Attwells, who agreed to have Maz back on board. He settled into life back in Australia and this is where we see the brand Best Buy come to life. He re-opened his Mazs Autos yard and rebranded it Best Buy Autos, as it remains today. Over the next 9 years Best Buy Autos would become one of the largest used car retailers in the Sydney market, and the name Maz Haddad would become one of the best known names in the world of Automotive.
Throughout his time in the car industry Maz faced many challenges, not least of which was approving finance for people that were not ideal candidates for the bank. Single mums, pensioners and people that had seen bad luck in the past, were finding it truly difficult to get into a new car to help them in their daily lives. These people deserved a chance and Maz and David were determined to give them one.
In 2008, together with the help of Davids business partner Wayne, they formed a finance company, In House Finance, where they could start to provide opportunities to many people that would otherwise have to go without.
They soon had a finance business that was turning over $20 million a year and helping to secure cars for those that needed them most. Of course this went hand in hand with selling cars, meaning they could sell to more people and turn over more stock. In 2014 David sold Alliances share of the business back to Maz and he rebranded the business and kept it running.
Maz arrived in Dubai one beautiful afternoon with a vision to retire, entertain and simply relax. He’d had enough of the 16 hour days that had become the norm and now wanted to enjoy his life and spend it with good friends, great food and his private yacht that had become a sanctuary where he could forget the world.
True to form though, this wasn't to be. Maz stepped onto the soil of the UAE and discovered an uncharted landscape that had so much to learn from this International Entrepreneur that he couldn’t help himself and he soon started ramping back up and starting fresh in this new and exciting country.
As I’m sure anyone reading this has worked out, Maz doesn’t do thing slowly or half heartedly, and Dubai was no different. He set about finding out all he could about this new environment and formed relationships with some of the countries best informed Business people. He was back, and he was thinking larger than ever.
His first thought was that Dubai needed a new luxury car entrant that would offer a complete solution to buying a luxury second hand car in
Dubai. Not only would he stock great quality cars, but he would build a workshop to service them, offer loan cars and buy your old car, or sell it for you. He started his venture by establishing Best Buy Autos, Dubai and brought to the table experience and processes that no-one in Dubai had ever seen before. He convinced his colleagues and associates back in Australia to invest and work alongside him in his quest to conquer the landscape in the UAE and in as little as 6 months had more than a dozen people fly in and out of Dubai to show them his vision.
He diversified rapidly and invested in and set up Businesses in Construction, Luxury Consulting, Conveyancing and Accounting to compliment his Auto Business. He also set about launching Dubai’s first free consignment service that would see people sell their cars with him or through him with no out of pocket expenses. Within a little over 6 months he sold off the first of these businesses increasing its value by no less than 20% in market. So much is his drive for perfection he had everything running smoothly and the customers started flowing in.
Maz’s enthusiasm is infectious leading to everyone he meets wanting to work longer and harder to make his vision a reality. Maz has such an impact on people he was able to bring all his International experience with him and convince his Business Colleagues in Australia to work alongside him in all these projects.
Amongst these people you’ll find Jignesh from Webential, who has been working in website and app development for over 15 years Internationally, and Tracey from Driving Online who brings over 20 years experience in the Australian automotive industry and content writing. With their knowledge and Maz’s big picture thinking they were able to achieve in a short space of time, something that no-one thought was possible.
You’re going to want to watch this space as he will only get bigger and better from this point on and there are so many exciting developments underway you don’t want to miss out."
In just 1 short year, Maz’s success is obvious. Best Buy Autos and Cars Always Wanted are the biggest, brightest and best showrooms in Dubai. They offer never before seen luxury and convenience for car buyers across the UAE.
These showrooms started as a dream and a factory shell and now they are self sufficient and successful businesses.
He has managed to create not only state of the art facilities, but also cutting edge websites, nest practice social media accounts and technology that makes them all run together smoothly.
The Cars Always Wanted App is a customised, one of a kind solution connecting the dealer, buyer and seller in a total virtual world that no-one has experienced before. An ease of transaction that until now people only dreamt of, but with Maz’s vision of buying and selling cars easily and hassle free and in just 30 minutes it is now a reality in Dubai.
Outside of Automotive Maz saw some opportunity to help out the little guys. 2 such businesses were Domain Conveyancing and Multi Build Constructions.
Domain was headed up by a young Conveyancer with some experience but without the desire to put in the hard yards to really get his business flying. With Maz’s investment and help he has managed to turn on it on a dime and become a leading force in Conveyancing services in Dubai. Once again Mazs passion and vision led him to rebuilding the website, updating the skillset of the staff and marketing correctly to attract the right business. In a little over a year, Maz has completed what he set out to achieve with Domain and has now sold out and handed the reigns back to the young owner to now take on a bigger, better and much more valued business.
Multibuild Constructions was a small construction company trying to make it with the big boys. Although they had the skills and the hands on know how, they lacked the drive and vision to really take the business to the next level and start becoming a serious contender in the building and office fit out space.
Maz invested and guided this young business over the last year until it was at the point that they could win the big contracts, secure the larger clients and the Business worth had doubled. He once again completed what he started, upgraded their online presence, showed them what true passion for your business looks like and mentored them enough that they could take back control and surge ahead.
The hours and dedication Maz puts into these ventures is unmatched by anyone today and he has placed all his energy and experience into bringing these businesses to life. Through his uncompromised passion Maz himself is now known far and wide.
For a businessman to have achieved that kind of notoriety in such a short space of time is unimaginable, but by now we all know Maz, and we’re all aware of his presence and his influence.
Such is Maz’s passion for getting things running quickly and smoothly, he turned these around in a little over a year from struggling startups to million dollar success stories.
He has now sold his shares in both these budding enterprises after building them up from simple start ups and is moving on to his next adventure. "
296 Hume Hwy, Cabramatta started out as an unassuming block of land until Maz Haddad built a used car empire and started with this humble block. From that day on it became synonymous with quality used cars and a place to go to make dreams come true.
But as with most dreams, they eventually come to an end and make way for grander plans and bigger dreams. In October 2018, the unthinkable happened and Maz decided it was time to move on and create a different vibe in the industry he loves and that’s how 296 Hume Hwy became available for sale.
Talking to Maz you can hear the emotion at letting go of a part of his world, but the excitement returns when he speaks of his next big adventure. No details are being leaked as yet, but anyone that knows Maz, knows that the next time you see him it will once again be amongst the stars.
After heading out of Australia and taking Dubai by storm, he has realised that things are changing and he knows just how to move, change and adapt to ensure survival of the fittest. Take note and watch this space for a piece of International history coming back to the shores of Australia in 2019...
Graham Gamer was one of the first men in the history of the Automotive Industry to open an auction house to the public. He started Valley Motor Auctions in Newcastle in 1991, and hasn’t looked back. He now owns and operates Australia's largest regional motor auction, with over 300 cars going under the hammer every week.
Grahams philosophy and focus has always been around customer satisfaction and if you read about him you’ll find that there are many people that will attest to the professionalism of his business.
Some of the latest comments online outline the gratitude people have for him and his staff. “Great to deal with. Not pushy salespeople like you find in car yards.” Craig Furneaux and Shane Petersen said “Bought 2 cars from here and the mechanical staff are not afraid to help sort out problems with the vehicle.”
If you ever get a chance to visit him at Valley Motor Auctions, you’ll be surprised at how down to earth and polite this man really is. He achieves so much behind the scenes, but unlike some, he chooses not to “big note” himself for recognition.
If you start looking though, you will find it everywhere as Steve Peruch points out “They help the disabled community with transport as a free community service. Their help is much appreciated.”
Graham Gamer is a true Gentleman in his field.
Graham Gamer has seen it all in his lifetime in the motor trade. He has owned and operated an auction house in Newcastle for the best part of 50 years and in his time, he has seen people come, go and be destroyed by the industry.
In 1992, Graham recalls meeting a young man by the name of Maz, who travelled to Newcastle to see if he could buy a few cars from an auction. By this time Maz had been buying and selling on a small scale for a few years and knew he was ready to go bigger.
Such was the presence of this young man from Bonnyrigg that within 6 months Graham would be selling Maz cars on consignment and allowing this charismatic young guy to pay him once they were sold. Graham knew early on that Maz would be a millionaire and he wasn’t wrong.
He recalls a time when Maz still didn’t have storage and so he would have 10 cars lined up on each side of his suburban street and 10 in the Driveway. His mum also remembers this time and the threat that they would be kicked out if the trucks didn’t stop coming, but of course Maz was blind to this and kept focussed on his goal.
Graham remembers telling a young Maz that he was going to be very successful and also to be careful of those around him as he grew. Maz was a family man and was always looking after everyone, including his Mum and Graham knew there would be some that would be blinded by jealousy and the need to see him fail.
When you talk to Graham you can’t help but be enthralled by the story and respect he has for Maz. Throughout his career and his rise to success Maz never forgot where he came from, or who supported him and helped him reach his goals. “There was definitely some jealousy from the other young Lebanese in his community and they wanted to cause trouble.” says Graham, “But above it all Maz became a leader in his Lebanese community, which is no small feat.”
Maz married young and had a child, Graham knew his family and was there for all the major events. The one thing that he says stuck with him, was that Maz was a born leader. When Maz took a step, others followed. This was never more evident than when Maz decided he would take out a full page ad in the Trading Post and open 24 hours a day for week. A full page back then was unheard of and who would buy cars at midnight?? These were the questions on everyone's mind until that week. Maz sold 80 cars and had no stock left. No-one has doubted him since.
Graham is a well respected member of the Automotive community in Sydney and to hear him speak of a young boy, who became a friend and loyal business associate is remarkable. Maz remains close and loyal to Graham, even from Dubai and Graham believes Maz will succeed with taking on the world.
Barry and Bill Parish were 2 brothers that started their careers in the spray painting industry. They were business to business sellers providing high quality painting for all makes and models of cars. They owned a shop in Tangerine Street where they first met Maz.
From spraypainting, they decided they could also sell their own cars and opened up a car yard across from the station where they started buying and selling with Maz alongside them. Barry has now been in the automotive industry the best part of 50 years and has been a successful Salesman in his own right in the bustling used car yards of Sydney. Barry is still buying and selling cars.
Barry was one of the first contacts Maz made in the world of cars. Barry and his brother Bill Parish owned a spray painting shop in Tangerine Street and he remembers the day that a very young and very persistent Maz turned up at his shop with a car that he wanted painting. It was 1990 and they only did serviced businesses, not retail customers. Since they didn't do retail work, Barry told him to leave and find somewhere else that would spray it for him. Maz refused and stayed until close. He then came back the next day. So persistent was Maz, that Barry ended up spraying his car the very next day.
Barry knew then, that Maz was made for bigger and better things. Barry continued to spray cars for him. Barry knew he was a true entrepreneur when he recalled “Maz would see cars in the street that were just parked in front of a house and go and knock on the door and ask if he could buy them.”
Barry stayed close to Maz and his family for many years, and was there to guide him when he started becoming successful and the money started coming in. Barry often spoke to Maz’s mum and helped to mentor a youn g, passionate guy to become a focussed and successful businessman.
When Barry and Bill moved their operation across from the station, Maz asked if he could start placing his cars in their yard, and getting them away from his home. They agreed. “Maz would head over and open the yard at all hours of the night to show a customer a car.” Barry recalls. “I had never met someone more focussed on succeeding, or someone that worked so many hours to make his customers happy.” He also remembers Maz having a knack for business. Knowing when to help out a customer, and when they were trying to take advantage.
Some years later, their relationship would take a complete 180 degree shift, when Maz returned from overseas to find Barry out of work. The always loyal friend and workmate asked Barry to come and work with him, this time in his yard, which is what he did. Barry stayed there while Maz was in Australia, and states “I work for Maz, I won’t work for anyone else, even if it’s still in one of his yards.”
David Attwells first step into owning a business in the automotive industry was in 1985 when he opened St George Motor Auctions. David decided auctions were the way of the future after spending several years in retail working 7 days a week. After 5 years running St George, David decided to sell the business and move on. He opened Parramatta Motor Auctions, which he then merged with Enfield Motor Auctions 3 years later.
In the late 90’s David decided to float Enfield on the stock exchange. This worked well for David and he eventually sold out of the business several years later to start again at Alliance. He noticed a gap in the Western Sydney market for quality cars at an affordable price so opening Alliance Motor Auction in Moorebank in 2000 was the logical choice to service this market. By opening one of the first auction houses in Sydney David was able to house hundreds of cars in his indoor facility and cater for dealers and consumers alike.
They now run auctions every day of the week and sell in excess of 700 cars.
David met Maz when he was on the rise and had just started to try and secure his licence. David, like Graham was so intrigued with this young entrepreneur that he started to give him cars on consignment to see what potential may lie underneath the polite and driven exterior that was Maz.
They originally met when David was running Enfield and the rest really is history as the 2 remain close to this day. Davids side of the story is littered with words such as loyal, lovable, motivated, passionate and confident. These 2 business associates would become close friends and business partners and they would take on the Industry and change it for the better.
One of these changes came out of left field as they identified that opportunity existed in the world of car finance. There were plenty of people that needed a car but the banks were wary of anyone with a less than perfect credit history and were loathe to lend them money, so Maz, as always, had a plan. He convinced the major banks to back him, and David went along and partnered with him to open up In House Finance in 2011. This meant they could start to finance the pensioners, single mums and those that just needed a leg up. Both partners invested substantial funds and when the banks wouldn’t lend, they could lend from their back up funds allowing more and more people in desperate need of cars to buy their wheels even with a less than perfect history.
It was a win win really. They could finance more people and hence they could sell more cars and make more customers happy. Everyone won and David really couldn't believe how quickly Maz was able to grow it. Within a short few years, In house finance had over $20 million worth of finance contracts in the traffic. This “Likable Roque” as David referred to him was so charismatic that people couldn’t help but follow.
With the success of In House Finance and a strong business relationship, Maz and David started developing car yards and entered the property market. They developed yards in both Smeaton Grange and Minto together in the 2000’s and they’re still operating as successful yards today.
As seen by Graham and Barry, David saw a born leader that lead by example and every person wanted to be him, and do what he was doing. Maz soon became a leader in his own community and whatever he did, someone would copy. So electric was his personality that he meets and develops the right people in the right industries even today. There are many people throughout the world that have Maz to thank for their success, and their thought tracks, as you can’t not listen to how Maz has succeeded and try to follow in his footsteps.