CHANGING LANDSCAPE: Stanthorpe business owners are coming to terms with the new world in which they work and live, where digital is at the forefront.
CHANGING LANDSCAPE: Stanthorpe business owners are coming to terms with the new world in which they work and live, where digital is at the forefront.

Businesses on rise after 12-month ‘bloodbath’

IT’S been a tumultuous 12 months for Granite Belt business owners who have been forced to face several devastating events.

But while some are thriving after the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions and the return of some semblance of normality, others are asking the difficult questions.

One of the questions is whether opening is whether opening up is the way forward.

“Horrific – it has been a bloodbath for businesses in the district,” Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce president Graham Parker said.

“Crippling affects from the drought and farmers not planting, so we’ve had no backpackers, which had big impacts on local businesses.

“Then the fires, we got a lot of media attention, which just stopped tourism overnight. And come the beginning of this year, they were kicked again.”

With close to 120 members across all sectors of the community, Mr Parker believes the business landscape could change as the country moves out of coronavirus restrictions.

“The majority are going to bounce back, there are some that won’t,” he said.

“There are other businesses who have thrived through it, though they are much smaller in numbers.

“But it depends on the business and their business model.”

Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce president Graham Parker said it’s been a “bloodbath” for small business owners on the Granite Belt.
Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce president Graham Parker said it’s been a “bloodbath” for small business owners on the Granite Belt.

Once a town reliant on dine-in customers and a store’s physical presence, the digital age has forced Stanthorpe businesses to rethink their presence in the community.

“If you had a good business before, you can have a great business again,” he said.

“All businesses will need to capitalise on digital platforms, because it’s the way of the future.

With restrictions easing further for patrons looking to dine out, Mr Parker said the Chamber was fielding more calls than ever from curious business owners.

“It’s the onerous tasks that are being put on the operators who have to get names and addresses. It’s all time, money, staff and costs that get added on to their existing costs,” he said.

“We’re here to advocate on behalf of our business members and the wider community to all levels of government,” he said.

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