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Businesses bank on locals

Shop manager of the Maple St co-op Yacoba Verstraten believes shopping local is important for the community
Shop manager of the Maple St co-op Yacoba Verstraten believes shopping local is important for the community Emily Haynes

AS BIG businesses seek extended Saturday trading hours, local business owners are urging the community to buy local as the busy shopping season approaches.

With the National Retail Association proposing to extend trading hours in south-east Queensland, small businesses including Maleny's Supa IGA could lose there advantage over "the big guys".

Maleny Supa IGA owner Rob Outridge said at this stage he was not worried about losing business as a result of the potential change, but he encouraged the local community to research what market concentration could do to an economy.

"Extended trading hours will be more of a problem east of the highway where small businesses are really going head to head with the big guys," he said.

"The two big chains in Australia have 80 per cent of ownership, you'd think they have enough already.

"It won't affect me at this stage, but if they stop at nothing for their part of the market share, it will be a bit of a worry."

Mitre 10 owner and manager John Brown said regardless of the kind of small business, extended trading hours could take people away from Maleny.

"Particularly in this area, we're very reliant on small business to keep the town going," he said.

"Extended trading hours on the Coast could change local shopping habits where people will shop east of the highway."

Maleny Co-Op general manager Karen Syrmis is ahead of the game, with five reasons to shop locally now displayed in her shop window.

Ms Syrmis said the message of buying local needed to be spread now, before another small town was dominated by big business.

"Every year multinational chain stores displace locally-owned business throughout Australia," she said.

"This is why it is so important to support your local businesses that in turn supports local producers and suppliers."

"Who's to say trading hours won't extend to being 24 hours a day for the big guys."

Ms Syrmis said the Hinterland community was already a big supporter of shopping local, making the economy as sustainable as it had been in the area.

But she said the upcoming Christmas shopping season could determine the future for a lot of family-owned businesses, depending on how locals decided to shop.


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