Business section:
Business section: "Sportscene", Toolooa St, Gladstone are celebrating their first anniversary, pictured is Sam Briggs. Photo Chrissy Harris/The Observer Chrissy Harris

Buy local campaign launched to support businesses

CONSUMERS who complain about shopping in Gladstone now have the chance to provide feedback on the issue, following the launch of a Buy Local campaign.

The campaign, organised by the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Gladstone Regional Council and the Gladstone Observer, is sending the message that when you buy local, you are supporting yourself.

The initiative, which started earlier this week, is about supporting the local small to medium businesses who struggle with retaining skilled staff, dealing with higher rents and being competitive.

Crystal McGregor, from local consultancy firm Amarna, said those who believed Gladstone was too expensive needed to consider why.

"Obviously there are issues in Gladstone that small businesses have to up prices because they have to pay higher wages to keep staff. That's been a huge problem," she said.

"Also the cost of leasing. These people who work in small businesses still have to pay the same rent and house prices as people in large industry.

"If price is really an issue, that you can get it a lot cheaper somewhere else, and if that is including travel and delivery, then that's a decision of the consumer.

"But what we're trying to say is, small businesses are facing these issues. They are the same small businesses employing kids out of school, mums at home with the kids, and who are donating to our sporting organisations.

"We really have to support them so they can come back and support the community."

Ms McGregor said those who had experienced bad service in Gladstone should not write off the whole community.

"What we're asking people to do is give people feedback. Feel free to send the feedback to us, where we can provide the feedback in a constructive manner," she said.

"Often the manager might not be in the business at the time and is unaware."

You can contact Amarna consultants at www.amarna.com.au.

Give small businesses a chance

Gladstone's Sportscene owner Sam Briggs believes the Buy Local initiative will help the community if people get involved.

"I just think it's a nice thing, to at least give your small businesses the opportunity to provide first," she said.

"We just try to give our customers the best product knowledge that we can, so they're informed, so that we're competitive. We want customer satisfaction, because we want the return customers."

Ms Briggs said the need to buy elsewhere was comparative.

"It depends on what you're purchasing. We're no more expensive up north or down south as far as RRP goes. It depends on what you're in the market to buy," she said.

"It's important to shop locally first. I agree you can't always get what you want, we're very much a now society.

"I think it's important to promote buying locally and people that are community orientated should be that way too."

Ms Briggs said she has been lucky to retain good staff but knew others struggled.

"I've had really good staff," she said.

"I have a lady doing a gap year and I'm in the process of putting her through a traineeship.

"I think it depends on what your business is. If you're hiring a mechanical business, you would probably be struggling."

What do you think about buying products locally?

This poll ended on 17 December 2012.

Current Results

I would buy more locally if prices were lower.

79%

I buy locally whether things are more expensive or not.

6%

I support my community in other ways.

0%

I don't think the small to medium business community is struggling.

13%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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