Struggling south-west shows how good Gladstone has it

TWO words can sum up my week: perspective and gratitude.

After spending the past week touring south-west Queensland, I have a newfound perspective of small businesses struggling and am grateful that in Gladstone we have the opportunities that we do.

The small businesses I visited have endured extremes, severe drought followed by devastating flooding and yet they still remain optimistic.

The saviours for many of these small townships were the roadwork crews repairing the roads from the 2011 floods.

Communities welcomed the workers, who provided a much-needed boost to the local economy.

The local newspaper reported that with the road works almost complete this local "boom" was coming to an end.

The effect of this would be felt throughout the community, sporting clubs laughed at the thought of local sponsorship and in fact many sports will have a decrease in participation with parents not being able to afford the fees.

The effects of shopping online and having goods delivered from major centres had a huge effect on businesses trying to service the local area.

Buying locally could not be more important for these rural townships and the Buy Local message was strong in local media and on the street.

Customer service wasn't coached, it was genuine; every business I entered provided quality service, with a smile and usually a chat about the local area.

Perspective - although the "boom" in Gladstone may be coming to an end, our small businesses still have a vibrant and bustling regional community to service.

Gratitude - I am grateful that my business is based in a region of opportunities - opportunities to service a range of markets; opportunities to change the line of goods and services; and opportunities to identify future demand.

We can be grateful that our businesses had the opportunities presented over the past three years and share this gratitude with the customers that continue to support us.