Operating since 1948, Jenkins Rubber Shop has well established its brand in the Cairns community. In over seven decades of business, the well known store has had only three local owners at the reins. The longevity of the business remains still after all this time due to various reasons including long serving staff ensuring exceptional customer service is provided by locals who have the knowledge and history of trade supplies of rubber and foam.

Sweet Beginnings... 

The iconic store started out as a shoe repair business, in the late 40's by the late Bill and Kim Jenkins, the older locals will remember the store as Jenkins Boot Repairs. As a result of customer demand, the husband and wife team expanded into selling rubber and foam, which soon became the business's core activity and Jenkins Rubber Shop and Foam Warehouse was born.

The 1960's was a time before the days of shopping centres and big department stores. During this decade the duo ventured into stocking and selling toys and at one stage it was the largest toy store in the community. The decision to sell toys came from popular demand by Cairns locals and most probably the demand of the couple's children as well, Janice and Ken. 

During the 70's the store could be found at its location, the old Plaza Theatre on Mulgrave Road. It was also located on the corner of Spence and Grafton Street in the Cairns CBD. The store also had a branch in Atherton during early 80's, this was managed by Bill's son, Ken and his wife, Carmel. The store was opened for three years before Ken and wife made the move back to Cairns. Until the duo's retirement in the early 80's the store was located on Aplin street. 

All goods things to shall pass

As Bill and Kim prepared for their retirement years, they began to wind the business

down, to a point it was nearly non-existent in the Cairns community. It wasn't until a prospective couple were interested in purchasing the business. Judy and the late Steve Nickles bought the Aplin Street business from Bill in 1983 and he and Kim set forth into retirement.

The couple moved back to the sunny town of Cairns after living in the big smoke of Brisbane, after searching for employment they decided to create their own by buying a business. Although, they arrived from the south, the new duo were indeed originally from Cairns, marking another local team to be at the reign of the iconic store. They both had extended family with ties in many other local Cairns businesses, including Advanx Tyre and Motor Service and Cairns Timber Limited.
The Aplin Street store was small and the Nickles soon began expanding the store which saw forth a move to a Sheridan street location in 1986. As the business grew it focused on providing great customer service and also the demanding needs of its customers.


During this time Cairns saw a major growth in the marine and local engineering businesses as the Fremantle Class Australian Navy Patrol Boats were built at the local NQEA shipyards, which in turn saw many contracts ushered for local marine and engineering businesses. Judy and Steve shifted their focus to trade and industry customers to help supply the demand for rubber the the town. 

Cairns continued to grow as a city and in toe so did Jenkins Rubber Shop. Steve's philosophy of making a 'honest living' whilst providing good service and servicing customer's needs, led to the shop's expansion in 1995, to its current storefront of 99 Aumuller Street, Portsmith. 


The strong will prevail.....

Jenkins Rubber Shop went from a one man operation to a businesses employing locals, four to be exact, with Steve undertaking day t

o day duties with Judy as his support partner. It wasn't until his passing in 1996 when Judy stepped into her matriarch role and continued to build the business leading it through the 20th century and into the 21st.

The business still powered through on the late Steve's model of business, honest dealings, good advice and the ability to solve customers' problems even if meant sending them to another business which would suit their needs. 

Judy ran the business up until 2005 when she handed the reins over to Andrew and Tracey Barnes. In which she stepped down from the matriarch role and continued to work in the store sharing her well rounded knowledge for foam and rubber to those around her for the next 15 years, when she semi-retired in 2020. 

Expanding the iconic name

Locals for almost 25 years the Barnes' walked into the management position with eyes wide open having run businesses in the past they were not shy of  management. Since they signed the paperwork in 2005, the Barnes have employed various local staff for positions in casual, part-time and full time staff roles supporting a close-knit family cultured workplace. The duo furthered the expansion within the business by occupying the shed behind the Aumuller street storefront to store bulk items such as foam and rolls of rubber. 

Expanding the business in the 21st century, the Barnes introduced a brand new uniform for the team, reiterating the company's new branded look. The redesign of the brand took place in the late 2000's. Along with the introduction of a new catchy Jingle Advertisement, an ad which you can still see running on today's TV channels and on the radio. You can even see it on our home page. 

The further development of the internet over the 2000's and 2010's the company put further development into the its online presence with a new website. This helped to cater for various customers not only locals but those located all around Australia and overseas.

The Barnes developed relationships with Australian suppliers and freight companies to be able to ship the products to everyone who required them. Quote for products including freight options go out daily. The purchasing of stock also increased as customer demand increased. Currently Jenkins Rubber Shop aims to stock products in bulk, sell in bulk and is always aiming to never not have a stock item on display - or at least an order of goods on the way. 

The start of 2020 brought the Barnes managing the store into their first pandemic and despite Cairns being hit in the tourism sectors, these times at home for customers allowed them to touch base with what needed to be done around the house and the business doors and lights remained open on with customers needing stock in store and those sourcing it online as well.

Today, Jenkins Rubber Shop continues to have a presence in the Cairns community supplying to local Navy refit, vessel construction and maintenance for the reef fleet, the fishing fleet, and visiting luxury yachts, building and construction companies as well our locals just needing to fix those items around the house.

The Jenkins Rubber brand still remains an integral part of the Cairns community, being locally owned and staffed by a succession of locals, this ensures knowledge and experience is available, together with good old-fashioned friendly service still occurring over 70 years on.