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