TOWN PROUD: Neil Mergard operates the 1770 LARC! tours which is on board with Town Proud this year.
TOWN PROUD: Neil Mergard operates the 1770 LARC! tours which is on board with Town Proud this year. Matt Taylor GLA250519LARC

TOWN PROUD: The tourism business putting local first

SHOPPING local not only keeps a business alive, it keeps a community thriving. That's why 1770 LARC! Tours owner Neil Mergard has become a part of The Observer's Town Proud campaign.

He said it was a great regional project to get the community actively thinking about the little guys, the small businesses, the local businesses.

"Because we are in a very secluded community, many would assume there are services missing,” Mr Mergard said. "But this project will hopefully bring people away from their online shopping and physically visiting local stores to understand that many are multitasking in what they offer and there is a variety of goods and services.”

Mr Mergard said he knew how important it was for the business to have a local support base.

"We want the local community to recommend our tours to their family and friends, and vice versa,” he said. "We have seen during the 25 years of our business that if we frequent local businesses for our needs, they support and promote us too.”

But shopping local isn't just about keeping Mr Mergard's business alive. He said they do as much for the community as possible.

"We support local clubs, schools and charities and donate towards fundraisers.

"Many of our LARC! team volunteer their free time to assist with community projects, including the 1770 Festival, Agnes Blues, Roots & Rock Festival, Agnes Water Museum, Discovery Coast Sports and Recreation Association and Tide n Turn Boardriders.

"Shopping locally allows us to provide jobs for these amazing people and keep them in the town, it also allows us a larger budget for donating to good causes.”

He said the business did have a new project underway but is remaining tight lipped for the time being. He encouraged shoppers to check in and see the new items they had in stock including souvenirs, local handmade goods, clothing and water sport equipment. He had one overall message for shoppers: "Keep the local shopping front of mind everyday.”

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