They have worked harder, thought smarter and come up with innovative ideas to survive the pandemic. One theme has run through it all: if you want the business you appreciate today to be here tomorrow, buy local.
A Territory Government campaign – aimed at encouraging Territorians to do everything from eating out a little more often to holidaying in the NT – says it all: A Little Means a Lot. Anastasia Byrnes, who owns the My Lollies boutique in Alice Springs, has long been a strong advocate of buying local. “Your $50 spent in one business goes on to help us employ staff, and donate to schools, clubs and fun runs. “The money goes around the town and helps it to grow and become more viable.”
She says it’s “imperative” to buy locally because of the coronavirus lockdown. “Businesses can’t keep their doors open for long if there are no funds coming in. “I have had my boutique for 15 years and it would be devastating if I had to close down. “I have seen most of my customers grow up and I do all my buying with them in mind. “The more they spend in store means I can confidently buy more of the things they want.”
Anastasia says the people of Alice Springs – a town renowned for its strong community spirit – have been “amazing”. “I had to reduce my hours quite a bit, but it just meant people came in during those hours – even if it was to spend a little to help me out. “Some customers even jumped online and bought gift vouchers because they couldn’t get into town.
“That was fantastic. I’m so grateful.” She says shopkeepers are looking out for each other. “Alice is a beautiful town and we want to keep moving forward.” Darwin Waterfront Corporation general manager Sam Burke says: “When you buy local, you’re supporting a local business, which in turn supports their local suppliers and the local people they employ.” He says there’s never been a more important time for Territorians to buy from a “store with a door”. “Keeping Territory money in the Territory means keeping Territorians employed and living in the Territory.”
The Waterfront adapted to the coronavirus pandemic by providing new offerings to give customers a reason to stay, return and support businesses. “Initially this was done through the establishment of a GRAB & GO food drive-through while restaurants were closed, and then through the creation of more outdoor seating and dining options in the parklands when restaurants reopened.”
And the Waterfront’s new Beach Club provides the perfect “holiday at home” retreat for locals to enjoy. It includes nautical daybeds, sun lounges, family-sized outdoor lounges, ottomans, soft furnishings, festoon lighting and music on weekends. “Businesses have diversified their offerings, with some now taking on new wholesale endeavours while others have provided new takeaway food and drinks offerings,” says Mr Burke.
For instance, the Oyster Bar created new offers, such as whole pineapple pina coladas. Hot Tamale created half watermelon margaritas and Chow whole young coconuts.
Businesses have also extended their al fresco dining areas, creating new spaces to relax, dine and enjoy. TQ