Many small business owners in the Bundaberg Region had a bumper Christmas trading period and want to thank locals for their support.
Childers Chamber of Commerce president Teena Mammino said she’d seen first hand the busyness of local stores, especially those along the Bruce Highway.
“Along the highway we have seen an influx in business and for those who stayed open it was extremely busy during the Christmas break,” Teena said.
“Tourist numbers have stayed up even through the hot and dry conditions.
“Here in Childers we were lucky enough to have a few mils of rain, and it was perfect weather for fishing and camping out toward Woodgate.
“We are due to have our first Chamber meeting in February and we will know all the details of how well the season went then, but from what I have seen it is very positive.”
In the lead-up to Christmas Teena said Childers Chamber of Commerce spent three months beautifying the town to encourage people travelling on the Bruce Highway to stop in Childers.
“We did the Spring into Childers campaign three months prior, and decorated 110 leopard trees with giant red bows to attract people to stop, take a photo, and check out the local stores while they were having a break,” Teena said.
“We also had the Bundaberg Regional Council light up the trees; these little touches in the main street seemed to work.”
Christmas trading busy for small business
Mammino Gourmet Ice Cream owners Leo and Helen Ricciardi said the Christmas trading period had been their busiest since buying the gourmet ice creamy in September 2017.
“We’ve had the biggest month we’ve had since we owned the business,” Helen said.
At Bargara, Sanshells Boutique manager Kim Johnson said it was one of the busiest times of year for the clothing store and the crowds hadn’t stopped yet.
“We’ve had a bumper Christmas out here at Bargara,” Kim said.
“We have done wonderfully well, it’s been terrific and from what I’ve heard from other local business they’ve done really well also.”
Kim said they were pleased a Christmas trading downturn, which had been predicted by some, hadn't occurred.
“We haven’t had any slump they were talking about,” she said.
“We have definitely had a steady flow of customers coming in each day and it hasn’t slowed down yet.
“If anything, I feel this year has been a lot bigger when it comes to retail.
“And it all has a flow on effect to other businesses around the area – Bargara is really being put on the map!”
Sanshells Boutique owner Pene Makepeace echoed the sentiment, saying she was pleased with the support given not only by local customers and visitors to the region but other businesses too.
Pene bought Sanshells Boutique about a year ago and said in the last 12 months she’d seen a big shift in people shopping and supporting small businesses.
“It is really nice to see; Bargara is definitely becoming the place to visit,” she said.
“We are going really well and receive praise daily.”
Support for local small business grows in CBD
In the Bundaberg CBD, family business Nature's Emporium has almost three decades of history in town, and owners Chris and Tina Dimes said it was great to see people continuing to support the store.
“We are well on par to last year; we saw the late rush and had a very busy week before Christmas,” Chris said.
“It was really good to see people still walking through the doors, especially those who left the shopping to the last minute.”
Chris said the business opened 27 years ago and it was nice to have the loyalty of customers who had grown up in the area.
“We also have customers who shopped here as kids come in now as adults,” he said.
“From its humble beginnings in the early ’90s Natures has continued to grow and evolve and we are fortunate to have been able to trade through the ebb and flow of the economic changes that has seen many businesses fall away.
“As a local business ourselves we are proud to support other local boutique business by providing a place to stock their beautiful handmade products.
“Bundy is just exploding with some amazing talent and it is awesome to watch them grow.”
- Other news: Shop locally to deliver a Christmas miracle