EXCITING PROSPECT: What would a big store do for Biloela?
IT’S BECOME common practice for Biloela residents to travel to Rockhampton and Gladstone for their full shopping experience, but what if this changed?
The Central Telegraph asked our readers on Facebook what stores you’d love to see in Biloela and got 65 responses.
The top five stores you asked for were Kmart, Best & Less, Aldi, a shoe shop and another fast-food chain.
We spoke to small business owners in Biloela and heard their thoughts on the possibility of a big new business opening in town.
Josie Rigney manages the Kariboe St Collective and she voted on our post to bring a Best & Less to Biloela.
“I’m in favour of bringing in more shops because that keeps people here,” Mrs Rigney said.
“People want choice because the product from store A may not suit so if you have options B and C and may even D, well there’s more chance then of finding what’ll suit you.”
Although Mrs Rigney would be excited about the prospect of new shops and businesses coming to town, she had a realistic approach, saying, “In a town of 5000 people it’s a question of how many shops can be supported by only that many people.”
Another small business owner who wished to remain anonymous said Biloela didn’t need the big stores.
“If you sell the right thing at the right price then you don’t need to worry about bringing in big department stores.
“The only recommendations I’d make is for a toy, sport and jewellery store in town.”
Callide Dawson Chamber of Commerce president Steve Bates, from Steve’s Barber Shop, said a new big business in Biloela would have a positive impact.
“The more options we have here in our home town the better,” Mr Bates said.
“This would keep more money in our local economy and would have a positive flow-on effect.
“With a new department store or new fast-food outlet comes job opportunities for the younger generation, a reason to stay here in Biloela.”
However, Mr Bates did admit it may negatively impact some small established businesses to a point.
“I think the positives would far outweigh the negatives. Every business here in Biloela has their own uniqueness in customer service, which makes for loyal customers,” Mr Bates said.
“More options will discourage people from heading out of town to shop.
“The more you spend locally, the more your children will benefit.”
Dianne Morris from Biloela Enterprise said Biloela was ‘satellite’ town to Gladstone and Rockhampton, creating a geographic and local retailer challenge in itself.
“Talk to any ‘retailer’ and they say retail has changed in how and where you do business,” Mrs Morris said.
“Suggestions of mobility — therefore shopping out of town and internet shopping — are common reasons that impact here.
“But why ‘shopping out of town’ occurs has been explained somewhat by a Survey Monkey conducted by CDCC in 2017, which indicated specialist medical services required, entertainment for kids and poor retail choices with poor quality of service by some in Biloela as being the reasons.”
Oasis Bar & Cafe manager Mark Di Ruggiero jokingly said a McDonald’s in Biloela would put him out of business, but he was serious in saying that the buying power of bigger stores like Kmart and Aldi may close small businesses.
“That all comes into buying power and the likes of Kmart and Aldi would have a lot more buying power than the business down the street,” Mr Di Ruggiero said.
“It’s a catch-22 — it’s got the chance of closing small business (but) also the chance of employing more people.
“We’ve gone form having bugger all choice for meals around to quite a few in recent times, which has already created healthy competition in town.”