How do we save our local businesses?
EMPTY shopfronts are always a somber sight to see, and now a discussion has taken place online as to what can be done about them.
Our sister paper, the Richmond River Express Examiner, posted a couple of photos of empty shops around Casino and asked: "What can be done about the empty shops in Casino?"
Facebookers got talking and threw out some suggestions.
"Support local shops so more don't close down. Get landlords to keep rent lower," Renai Gardner said.
"Reduce the rents or a start. (I) was helping a friend about 12 months ago looking for somwhere to start up his business and the rents were ridiculous," Shay Jansen said.
"Better to have some income through low rents than none at all. Rent prices are ridiculous," Joanne Cameron said.
"Firstly lower the cost of rent in the empty buildings to make it more affordable for new business to open. The chamber of commerce could look into offering a monthly prize for people that shop in town ... Maybe something like a $100 gift voucher to be used at any shop, supermarket or service station in Casino," Bon Van Laarhoven said.
"Maybe if the local shops had what you need and at a comparable price to out of town more people would shop locally," Kathy Ward said.
"Just remember it's the local businesses that are asked for donations from schools, sporting clubs and others - these businesses also employ your children - the wages they pay help locals to support their own families," Kaylene N Gary Robbins said.
"Generally most stores do have what you need! People are just to lazy to go see! Locally small owned buisnesses, can't drop to the prices of Kmart, Big W etc! But people see the price tag in Kmart for $15 and see it at a small locally owned store for $22 and they go over to Kmart! These locally owned buisnesses, are people's lives! They are what they live off! If people are shopping locally, that isn't just affecting the buisnesses it's affecting their lively hood! That is how some people afford to have your specific needs to have a healthy wellbeing!" Maddison Gardner said.
"Unfortunately it is a sign of changing times - internet & online shopping, plus lots of locals going to Lismore / Ballina & Gold Coast to shop," Chris Breeny said.
"If the difference in prices was small, most ppl would prefer local shopping problem is it's quite a large gap, eg same brand of medicine in Xasino $26... Lismore $15.... That's a lot for same product," Troy Hawke said.
"People travel to Lismore for a bargin - do they think to add in the price of petrol to their bargin?" Barbara Hollis said.
"Going to Lismore save what $6? You'd spend more on fuel driving over there and back!" Lucinda Jayne Benson said.
There is honestly mote on offer in those places at the moment. Would be nice to have a local clothing store that wasn't Vinnie's or just for women. There is next to no clothes on offer for blokes in town really," Rhys Whitlock said.
"I love Casino and lived there for many years and shopped in Lismore occasionally. I come back regularly down town is not very inviting now, undesirable people hanging around the streets and too many empty shops. Don't know the answer but I'm sure locals can rise up and do it," Jo Lennox said.
"I love Casino a great town - these type of things need a united or group approach. In other words yes to landlords coming on board with rents, also Council support the DA's, Chamber identify what businesses are needed or where there is a gap and actively approach people with that skill set, community needs to support, Police support with crime etc. At times a purchase comes down to more then price alone. Empty shops like this doesn't just look bad for the CBD but it effects the whole town. We need to see this as a community 'problem' and in amongst all these comments is the first step. Regardless of anything I don't see any true barrier to Casino thriving once again, as I said great town and great people, this is a solid foundation," Raymond Karam said.
"Maybe a police shopfront main street for a few hours a day, 5 1/2 days a week just to increase public safety and security for both businesses and customers, also to give general advice and help to 'close the gap' with the community," Steve Sun said.
"Lease it as a business incubator. Several businesses in one shop. Or as a common office space location for start ups, sharing common equipment and services," Alan De Luzuriaga said.
"Let the Federal Government reduce company tax and watch them fill up and all the new jobs created," Big Rob said.