BUY LOCAL: Chinchilla Community Commerce and Industry president Shannon McDermott said local businesses are keeping positive. Pic: Kate McCormack
BUY LOCAL: Chinchilla Community Commerce and Industry president Shannon McDermott said local businesses are keeping positive. Pic: Kate McCormack

Business retail up as Chinchilla residents shop local

WHILE the food industry have been hit hard by the pandemic, retail businesses in Chinchilla have seen a positive period of growth, both during lockdown and after, according to one community business leader.

Chinchilla Community Commerce and Industry president Shannon McDermott said local retail businesses from hardware to clothing have seen positive growth during the pandemic.

"Overall in regards to the business in the local community, a lot of the retailers I'm talking to are actually indicating that the coronavirus has been quite positive for them," Mr McDermott said.

"Pubs, clubs and all the foodie guys, they were obviously impacted to varying degrees, so it was good to hear some positive news from the other side of retail that has predominantly been doing it tough for a couple of years now."

Mr McDermott said the coronavirus seems to have shown locals a new way to shop, which has resulted in strong retail numbers and showcased the importance of buying local.

"Food industry aside, all the other retailers are actually stating that with the restrictions that were imposed earlier on in the year, actually forced people who do live locally not to go and shop elsewhere," he said.

"It was a bit of an educational process on what they could actually buy in Chinchilla, and a lot of the retail trade was up which was quite interesting to hear.

"Some have said since that trend, whilst not as good as it was during the lockdown, it has still continued.

"COVID-19 has somewhat has served as a bit of an educational experience on what is actually available to our locals, so that's a positive."

Although, Mr McDermott said we're not in the clear just yet, and people need to continue to do the right thing in following heath directions to reduce the spread of the virus which could easily put the local economy through the ringer.

"I'd love to say were out of the woods, but it's a risky thing to comment on," Mr McDermott said.

"While we may be less susceptible to the onset of any outbreak because we're a bit more remote and less densely populated… but as we've seen it only takes one or two people to do the wrong thing and that could all change in such a sort period if time."

Mr McDermott said if we were to have a local outbreak, "it would be detrimental to the community to go to stage four lockdown."

"It would be detrimental to any economy because you're going to be losing revenue, there's definitely a number of businesses that would be affected - and some more than others.

"Any increase in restrictions will have an effect, you would be mad to think it wouldn't."

The overall mood in the Chinchilla retail business, Mr McDermott, said is one of positivity and hopefulness.

"Our economy has fared better than a lot of the other states during the pandemic, and the state government is obviously acting in the best interest of the people in our state to insure the least amount of impact and exposure as possible," he said.

"The general mood is positive, as all the businesses have adapted to all the new measures and social distancing, and (customers) are becoming more understanding … it's starting to become a habit and routine - it's just becoming the new normal."


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