Retailers have trading blues
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
TO work or not to work.
That is the dilemma faced by small retailers while the rest of us will be enjoying a four-day break.
Small business owners in the Stockland Gladstone mall have been forced to decide on whether or not to join the major traders in their decision to open on the Monday and Tuesday public holidays following Christmas.
Focus on Gifts owner Joan Hilton said the small business could not afford to pay staff penalty wages and believed opening every day leading up to Christmas would give patrons enough shopping time.
'Other store owners have asked if we're opening and it's a complete schemozzle ? no one knows what's happening or whether or not they're supposed to open,' Ms Hilton said.
She said store owners were extremely busy leading up to Christmas and would be 'absolutely exhausted' after working over Christmas.
'We've got family coming up for Christmas and we're already opening every day leading up to Christmas, so it's going to be frantic enough,' Ms Hilton said.
Loot Homewares owner Garth Comerford said he was "undecided'' as to whether or not to open for the two public holidays.
'We can't predict how many people will come to the shops in Gladstone, so it's difficult to decide if it will be worth it, and obviously the staff would like to have a decent break over Christmas,'' Mr Comerford said.
Newsexpress owner Ian Chapman said the store would be open, but was 'not keen about it''.
'The reality is it pays for us to be open, and while the supermarket and bigger stores are open we don't have much of a choice,' Mr Chapman said.
Sunshine Kebabs manager Kursat Dogan said while he would prefer to stay closed to enjoy Christmas celebrations, the store would probably open.
'We'll be open, although we're pretty unhap- py about it. It would be better if the whole cen- tre closed, but while the big shops are open we'll be forced to stay open as well,' Mr Dogan said.
He said other store owners and managers were also complaining about having to open, and some had had to change Christmas travel plans to open on the public holidays.
Centre management said while the centre was designated as open from 9am to 5pm on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 December the dates were considered optional, although Big W and Woolworths, as well as other national specialty stores would be open.