The McKinney family business was founded in 1884 by Margot McKinney’s great grandfather who had recently emigrated from Ireland to Australia in search of gold and a more prosperous life. The pioneering young John McKinney established a business selling necessities to other “hopefuls” on their way to the gold fields. John McKinney and his young wife Sarah soon grew the business to be the premier suppliers of assorted "necessities and luxuries" to the growing town of Toowoomba and the surrounding rural market in Western Queensland.

Under the stewardship of the second generation, Kenneth McKinney, and later his son John Kenneth McKinney, the business grew to be the pre-eminent department store of the by-then thriving Darling Downs region. Servicing a large and demanding rural and city clientele through both wholesale and retail businesses, the department store stocked goods such as sporting equipment, cameras, toys, boats, guns, electrical goods, cosmetics, women's apparel, imported English and European china and silverware, furniture – and, always, precious jewellery.

Towards the end of last century, the family business grew again with the acquisition of Australia's oldest jewellery firm. Prestige showrooms were added in Melbourne, Sydney, Double Bay, Port Douglas and the Gold Coast and John K. McKinney became the holder of a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Margot McKinney is proud of the McKinney family heritage and sees it as a guiding light.