The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is still unfolding. Restrictions in trade, a fall in demand due to isolation practices, falling tax revenue and increased government expenditure are expected have an effect for at least the next six to twelve months.
Unlike other economic situations which tend to either cause a boom or a bust, the coronavirus effect is more like a spectrum. There are businesses that were barely holding on and coronavirus was the final straw; businesses who have hit to hit ‘pause’ because they are simply not permitted to trade; and then there are industries who are flourishing due to the nature of the products and services they provide and the increased demand for them.
One business in the pause category is Fitness Hub in Bullsbrook. Gymnasiums and indoor sporting venues have not been permitted to open since restrictions were imposed on 23 March. Owners Natasha and Ryan Lancaster also own Bridgestone Tyres and have been fortunate to be able retain most of their staff and utilise them in the tyre shop.
“Our administration staff look after both businesses, so we were able to refocus their time and duties to the tyre shop while the gym is closed,” explains Natasha.
“Our personal trainer Bradley Hunter has had to have his contract with us put on hold while the gym closed, but Brad has been a fantastic support for our dedicated members during this time providing health and fitness support through a Facebook group chat. This helps keep our members active and engaged during these tough times.
“We are ready to re-open again once the restrictions are lifted. We have taken the closure time to do some maintenance in the gym so that when the Government gives us the go ahead, we will back ready to offer our great gym to our members.
“We also wanted to thank all of our customers that have continued to support our Tyre Shop during these tough times. Everyone’s budgets are tight but our fantastic customers keep coming back to us and this means we can continue to employ our five locals.”
Bindoon Bakehaus is a local business who have had to adapt very quickly to keep afloat during COVID-19 restrictions. With the seating area of the cafe completely off-limits to the public, co-owner Anne Maree Hagge is devastated to have had to let go many staff. However the bakery has seen increased local demand for their freshly baked bread, family pies and takeaway options (including pizza) and are still open Monday – Saturday to satisfy coffee cravings.
“The continual support from our local community has been amazing – without their support financially and also the well wishes and check-in’s I don’t know how we could have got though this!”
Next door to the Bakehaus, the Northern Valleys Locavore Store has experienced a huge increase in their online business as a result of lockdown restrictions.
“We’ve been thrilled to be able to deliver much-needed fresh food direct to people in lockdown all over the region during this peculiar time,” said co-owner Tamieka Preston.
“It’s been a real silver lining that this situation has made people look at locally produced food and buy from local farmers and food businesses.”
While the physical store has experienced restricted sales due to reduced tourist trade and retail limitations, the spike in online sales has been welcome for the store, and the increased demand has seen the store invest in a refrigerated truck for deliveries.
“I can only hope this opportunity for locals to see what amazing produce is available locally will change some habits, and we will experience continued support from locals after restrictions ease,” said Tamieka.