More than 20 Coonabarabran business houses were represented at a constructive breakfast meeting, held at the Matthew Flinders Motor Inn on Wednesday, 19 April, where framework for a reinvigorated “Shop Local” campaign was explored.
People from across all facets of the business community were in attendance, revealing the widespread impact that online and out-of-town shopping has had on the local economy.
Facilitated by the Coonabarabran and District Chamber of Commerce, an invitation to participate in discussions was extended to the entire business community, not just Chamber members.
Chamber president, Donna Burton, said she was thrilled with the response from business owners, especially when taking into account the early 7.00am start.
“To see this many business people turn up is incredible, which means that there is that groundswell of grass-roots support for a Shop Local campaign,” Mrs Burton said.
“It shows that people care about our town and our businesses and they want to do something.
“It was also great that a number of new business owners came along and contributed with fresh ideas.”
Mrs Burton said the purpose of a Shop Local campaign was to remind people about the businesses that were in town and the services they provided.
“Money we spend locally is distributed locally - it stays here,” she said.
“By shopping locally, businesses can continue to provide employment for local people, especially young people.
“Another key issue discussed was that of sponsorship, because local businesses are hit up for that all the time, so it would be good to get some of that back.”
Warrumbungle Shire councillors, Ambrose Doolan and Kodi Brady, who are also business owners, also shared their insight at the breakfast gathering.
“Council wants to set up a meeting between businesses and the people who do the purchasing in Council so we can see what we need to do to get Council shopping local too,” Mrs Burton said.
“It’s good that we’re actually getting to that point that council is listening to us.”
While another meeting will be scheduled with the business community in the coming month, three areas of interest will be investigated:
1. Feedback: a survey will be produced online and will be available in hardcopy format in-store, seeking feedback from local people on their shopping experiences and how it could be improved.
2. Branding: a competition will be launched to help find a Shop Local logo and tagline that incorporates Coonabarabran.
3. Business directory: enquiries will be made about producing a local business directory, both online and physical copies.
Mrs Burton said that the most important thing to come of the meeting was that shopping locally needed to be a positive experience.
“In Coonabarabran, we have amazing businesses, products and services right under our nose.
“We just need to hone in on that and promote it effectively to the community.”
Local business people at the breakfast meeting to workshop a “Shop Local” campaign.