Fight­ing back against down­turn

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

BEACH Book Bou­tique co-owner Belinda Har­ris is pulling out all the stops to bring lo­cals and tourists to­gether.

Two months on from Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie, Ms Har­ris is one of the Main St shop own­ers re­port­ing a down­turn in busi­ness, par­tic­u­larly due to the clo­sure of the Airlie la­goon.

“There are lots of peo­ple who come here, par­tic­u­larly on a cruise day, but the down­turn is dras­tic for any of us fac­ing the la­goon,” she said.

“It is heart­break­ing for us just stand­ing here but we had a ma­jor cy­clone and that is what hap­pens.”

While times were tough, Ms Har­ris said they would do what­ever it took to bring peo­ple back.

“We are look­ing at ways to bring peo­ple back to the area, Airlie to me some­times feels like lo­cals ver­sus tourists but we want to bring them to­gether,” she said.

“We are plan­ning a fun day here on July 1, coun­cil gave us per­mis­sion to use the grass area here and help us bring peo­ple in. We have a lot of room for furry friends and ev­ery­one.”

Beach Book Bou­tique will of­fer lo­cal li­brary card hold­ers a 10% dis­count when dis­played.

The shop re­opened within two weeks of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie hit­ting the coast and with a bit of good luck they were able to get through the chaos with min­i­mal loss of stock.

“We needed to get air in be­cause we found con­den­sa­tion go­ing through the floor,” she said.

“We opened the doors and got a gen­er­a­tor in and turned fans on to save our stock.

“Had we lost them it would have been dif­fi­cult be­cause we mainly sell sec­ond-hand books, new ones can be re­placed but sec­ond-hand books are a bit harder, which was a ma­jor con­cern of ours.”

Mrs Har­ris said while the la­goon was closed, she wanted peo­ple to re­mem­ber that sur­round­ing busi­nesses were still open and needed on­go­ing com­mu­nity sup­port.

PHOTO: JA­COB WIL­SON

STILL STRONG: Robert and Belinda Har­ris wel­come cus­tomers to their Beach Book Bou­tique shop.

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