Like it or not, Sunday trading is around the corner

Charles Seeto, Peter Gibney, Santina Gangemi, Chloe Thompson and Karen Langdale-Hunt at Stanthorpe Woolworths.
Charles Seeto, Peter Gibney, Santina Gangemi, Chloe Thompson and Karen Langdale-Hunt at Stanthorpe Woolworths. Liana Turner

MAJOR stores in Stanthorpe will be allowed to trade on Sundays in just two weeks' time.

While the decision - in effect from July - only impacts the likes of Woolworths, Aldi and Target, some smaller Stanthorpe businesses who were already allowed to operate on Sundays believe it's a good opportunity to broaden trade as the destination town enters its peak tourism season.

Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Chamber of Commerce president John Bylicki said they had been pushing to see more businesses open up shop for longer in a bid to make Stanthorpe's business sector better equipped to benefit from tourists over the weekends.

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission moved to allow Sunday trading for major stores in Stanthorpe and Warwick after a week-long hearing in February.

A Woolworths spokesman welcomed the decision - handed down on Thursday - and said the Stanthorpe store would open from 9am to 6pm on Sundays from July 16.

The spokesman said they were seeking expressions of interest from team leaders for the extra shifts that would soon be required.

Tammy and Toby Robinson of 77 Cafe 77 said opening throughout the weekend and closing on Mondays and Tuesdays had proved beneficial for them.

"Mondays and Tuesdays were the quietest two days of the week for us,” Mrs Robinson said.

She said if more of the town was open on Sundays, it would likely benefit everyone.

"If the other shops are open it creates a better atmosphere and ... they've got something to go and do while they're waiting for take-away,” she said.

Spano's Supa IGA owner Frank Spano was a key opponent of Sunday trade, and Mrs Robinson acknowledged the QIRC's decision could impact his store.

"I think IGA may suffer a little bit,” she said.

Mr Spano was approached for comment but did not respond before deadline.

Pink Poppies gift store owner Lucille Jensen said she'd recently stopped trading on Sundays because of family commitments and the high cost of paying staff penalty rates, which are still in place until July. But she said the vast majority of her business came from locals, not tourists.

The Southern Downs Regional Council's manager of economic development and tourism Scott Templeman said the change would help the economy.

"The Southern Downs has approximately 800,000 visitors each year and many of them come from areas where there is already extended trading hours,” Mr Templeman said.

"When they visit the Southern Downs they expect to have the same shopping experience as they have at home.”

He said the council's economic development unit would work with the chambers of commerce in Stanthorpe and Warwick to deliver workshops on how traders could manage the change.

Mayor Tracy Dobie said seven-day trading would be a boon for business and tourism operators.

Maddie's Gift Gallery owner Maddie Burton has been opening on Sundays for eight years, but said she was in two minds, as Sundays could cut into valuable family time for some.

Aldi has yet to decide whether it will open its Stanthorpe store on Sundays, while Target Australia did not respond to a request for comment.

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