FIGHTING ON: Shane Davey, manager of Capricorn Model House.
FIGHTING ON: Shane Davey, manager of Capricorn Model House. Allan Reinikka ROK240517adavey2

Irresistible property deal saves a popular Rocky store

SMALL businesses across Central Queensland may be suffering, but there's one local family business that refuses to give up - Capricorn Model House.

After 25 years of trade, Capricorn Model House recently came extremely close to closing their doors before another local business owner stepped in to offer them an alternative.

Model House manager Shane Davey revealed the popular local store was preparing to open in a new location within weeks after being offered a cheaper shop space occupying both floors at 104 East St next to Soaked.

"We have managed to float around East St for the last 25 years and watched business come and go - a lot of 'go' lately," Mr Davey said.

"We were close to closing. It was a flip of the coin deal. Like a lot of small business owners are finding out, it's pretty damn stressful right now.

"A local businessman who understands the Rockhampton economy at the moment heard of our predicament and offered us a shop with a couple of rent-free months to help us get back on our feet and kick-off again."

 

Model House's new location between Mathers and Soaked Swimwear in the East St mall.
Model House's new location between Mathers and Soaked Swimwear in the East St mall. Melanie Plane

Mr Davey said high-rent in their current location and a lack of parking in the CBD were the main cause of Model House's woes.

"We were just making rent and were getting a little bit for small orders but being a family, we were all taking a pay cut. That puts the pressure on and your home life starts deteriorating. It's cut throat. You're going as hard as you can because you want to keep being productive," he said.

"You have to find the money for the overpriced rent that seems to be common around here and is responsible for a lot of closures, then you have to pay when the tax man hits you up, tax incentives or grants would be helpful.

"It might sound as though all small businesses are whinging but we are all optimistic as hell because at the end of the day, we all have to go home and pay mortgages, we have kids to feed and ever increasing electricity bills to pay so we go until the gates shut.

"Unfortunately, in this town at the moment commercial real estate seems to be way overpriced and it's something some landlords need to have a serious look at.

"The landlord here is not local. We talk to our landlords who is living in a metro area and they can't grasp what the CQ region is like at the moment.

"What is the loophole that an empty shop somehow makes you more money than a negotiated rented shop. A negotiated rented shop means more small business and it means places like East St can prosper again."

While the new Model House will be a bit smaller, Mr Davey revealed huge plans to reinvent the store's image and offering.

"This has been our little wake-up call, a new start. We have survived 25 years so we will start another 25 years with some fresh ideas and a refresh of some old ones," he said.

"I want to theme up the new place and make it a real destination and bring the community together. There are a few things that we have to try that we haven't done before such as online sales.

"We do lots of costumes so are hoping to go down more of a Cosplay line. If we don't get the costumes we will get the accessories and materials to make them with. We are going to get back into the movie figurines again.

"Hopefully we will even have room for a little place upstairs for people to learn how to make model kits."

With renewed hope for the survival of his family's business, Mr Davey encouraged other business owners to keep fighting and working together.

"We are all honest, hard working people trying to provide a service," he said.

"We are going to do our darnedest to stay open; we are thankful we have support. This is a fight small business has to win.

"I wish everyone else in small business all the luck in the world, if we stick together we can win this, we are looking at a light at the end of the tunnel."

Everything in store is on sale with up to 50% off in preparation for the move.



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