Residents in the Lockyer Valley are being urged to support local businesses to stay in the region, by shopping local.
One local business, Di’s Emporium and Book Exchange has been trading for nearly six years and has over that time operated as a home business and from a shopfront in Laidley. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the shop has once again been on the move, adjusting like many businesses to the punishing demands of the pandemic.
Small business owner, Di Koschel says since starting the business, she has listened closely to the public to change her services and offerings, to meet consumer demand.
“I started my business and listened to the public about what they wanted and expanded what I did to fit the needs of the local community,” Di says.
However, following the onset of the coronavirus and with concerns for her son, who is immune compromised – Di made the difficult decision to return the store home.
“I chose to close my store front due to COVID-19 and having a child with a compromised immune system, who had been told by his doctors that he was no longer allowed to leave the house and that he needed to reduce exposure to the virus.
“But he still needed to attend hospital appointments for vital lifesaving treatments. Being an asthmatic myself it made sense to move my business and return to a home, internet-based business,” Di says.
Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz recently visited Di at her home-based business, to collect a selection of books and acknowledge the great work of small operators, in challenging times.
“It has been a very difficult period for many of our local small and family businesses.
“When you look at our hospitality sector, pubs, restaurants, cafes and the like – their capacity to trade been smashed. That means job losses, reduced or no income and greater pressure on the family.
“I want to urge locals in the Lockyer, to do all they can to shop local, visit a café or restaurant for takeaway, or getting online and buying from Di’s Emporium,” Mr Buchholz said.
The downturn in trade is not just impacting on those business that operate from a shop or those sectors have been forced to close or shutdown. As a result of the Coronavirus, Di says trade has certainly slowed.
“Coronavirus has reduced the amount of trade I’m now doing, compared to what I was doing before.
“Some parts (of the businesses operations) are still on hold due to social distancing rules and insurance.
“I started this business as part of a bigger long-term goal to help others and as such I offered many different things from books to gifts including locally made goods and gaming consoles and clothing.
“As a result of customer feedback I started ordering ‘hard to find’ books and DVDs for people and offering alterations, mending and custom ordered items,” Di says.
Mr Buchholz said there were many innovative, hard-working locals across the Lockyer, such as Di, who embody the tough the spirit of small business owners.
“Di and many like her are confronting this tough time in their stride. They’re making the necessary changes, to protect public health and to keep operating.
“The circumstances Di and her family are in, that is really tough. But she is not letting that stop her and it is important that we back her and others. Buy local!
“I’ve got a big area to cover, to buy local – but where you can – go to the local shop, takeaway, service station, or agricultural supplier and keep our local businesses in business and residents in work.
“These are the people that support us in the good and bad, they sponsor our sporting clubs and provide raffle prizes to our community groups – now we need to support them,” Mr Buchholz said.
“We all need to do our bit. Every purchase count’s and last week the Australian Government announced $5 million in funding for a national campaign to encourage Australians to support their local small businesses.
“As restrictions ease, there is a golden opportunity for businesses to be supported by local communities. If you want to get out and go for a meal, shop or drive – do it somewhere near home and help a local to continue trading or to re-open,” Mr Buchholz said.
Following her encounter with Mr Buchholz and his passion for local business, Di said she loved being part of the Lockyer Valley.
“It has been great being a part of the Lockyer, there was a lot of support when I started and I would encourage all members of the community, all members of Parliament to be shopping in their areas.
“Scott came across my business as he wanted to support a business in his electorate and I received a message originally through Facebook, asking if I could help him with some books which then grew to a lot of books!
“I am very, very grateful that he has thought about those small businesses in his area and has been willing to buy from them.” Di said.
Mr Buchholz – Scott O’Connell – 0413 424 384