Party FX owner Natalie Dyer, with daughter Abbie, 5, encourages people to buy local.
Party FX owner Natalie Dyer, with daughter Abbie, 5, encourages people to buy local. Tom Huntley

Buy Local campaign aims to change shoppers' attitudes

GLADSTONE businesses are encouraged to practise what they preach in a bid to encourage localised shopping.

With locals only too happy to travel to Rockhampton and Bundaberg to snare a bargain, Gladstone small businesses appear to be left on the shelf.

Last month the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in partnership with The Gladstone Observer, launched a Buy Local campaign in  the hope of educating consumers and encouraging spending in the region.

Since its launch, the campaign has attracted a number of new members, with hopes of spreading the buy local message.

Buy Local manager Crystal McGregor said there were not only concerns with the attitude of local consumers, but the capabilities of local businesses.

"Some local businesses do not have the capacity to deliver more and we may need to go outside the area if local supply can't meet the demand, particularly delivering services within a timeframe," Ms McGregor said.

"From discussions I have had with some local businesses, it appears that there is a price difference, in some cases considerable price differences, from a local supplier to a Bundaberg or Rockhampton supplier."

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Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rick Hansen said there were a number of factors impacting small business in Gladstone.

"Attracting and retaining staff, higher leases and competition for space all factor in," he said.

Natalie Dyer knows all too well about being the life of the party.

But about a year into running her Tannum Sands-based Total Party FX business, Natalie has noticed a problem in the Gladstone retail market.

"People don't shop locally," Natalie said. "We have been to a number of events and have noticed the sound system or lighting hasn't been hired in Gladstone. It's upsetting."

Natalie said she was confident with her business but worried that shoppers were taking the easy way out.

"Now that we are growing as a community, locals will have to open up their minds and give local businesses a chance," she said.

What is missing in Gladstone's retail sector?

This poll ended on 18 March 2013.

Current Results

Variety

28%

Localised shopping strips

0%

Consumer confidence

0%

Competitive prices

71%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.