SHOP WHERE YOUR HEART IS

Drought, on­line shop­ping and a myr­iad of com­mer­cial choices are all chal­lenges be­ing faced by Dubbo re­tail­ers ahead of the Christ­mas rush. But there’s a lot to be said for buy­ing lo­cal, as NATALIE LEWIS dis­cov­ered.

Dubbo Photo News - - Front page - By NATALIE LEWIS

DROUGHT, on­line shop­ping and a myr­iad of com­mer­cial choices are all chal­lenges be­ing faced by Dubbo re­tail­ers ahead of the Christ­mas rush. But there’s a lot to be said for buy­ing lo­cal.

Dubbo Photo News asked lo­cal busi­ness op­er­a­tors what they think the se­cret to re­tail suc­cess is dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time.

Max Robert­son of Tyre­power Dubbo says his fam­ily has been in busi­ness for some 75 years. He un­der­stands more than most how im­por­tant it is to sup­port ru­ral fam­i­lies, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing hard times.

BOOK seller Dave Pankhurst has been in­volved in the Dubbo com­mu­nity for more than 50 years. The Book Con­nec­tion owner said the for­mula for suc­cess is build­ing on a good rep­u­ta­tion and giv­ing cus­tomers a strong level of ser­vice.

“To take ad­van­tage of be­ing in Dubbo since the mid-1960s,” he said. “We know a lot of peo­ple here.”

Mr Pankhurst’s wife Nancy was a teacher for 25 years and taught a lot of chil­dren. “It’s that con­tact with 500 fam­i­lies at least – there’s a con­nec­tion with the com­mu­nity. Be­fore that, it was my work in ru­ral man­u­fac­tur­ing and knowl­edge of the re­gion.”

Add ex­cel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice to the mix and peo­ple are gen­er­ally pleased with the out­come.

“Peo­ple feel con­nected to you where you have been looking af­ter them for many years, and our staff are also very help­ful.”

Mr Pankhurst be­lieves there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween coun­try and city when it comes to client sat­is­fac­tion.

“There’s very lit­tle con­nec­tion be­tween the buyer and the seller on the main streets of Syd­ney. Very few peo­ple would know who’s behind the com­pa­nies. By be­ing here in a re­gional city like Dubbo for a long time, you start to get to know your cus­tomers per­son­ally.”

And while he ac­knowl­edges the dif­fi­cul­ties be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced across the re­tail sec­tor, Mr Pankhurst is pos­i­tive about the fu­ture of trad­ing in ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas.

“A big chal­lenge is the drought. But we are very thank­ful for the sup­port of peo­ple around us.”

Max Robert­son of Tyre­power Dubbo says his fam­ily has been in busi­ness for some 75 years. He un­der­stands more than most how im­por­tant it is to sup­port ru­ral fam­i­lies, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing hard times.

“The shop­ping lo­cal thing is even more im­por­tant now,” he said.

“The ex­tent of the drought is fil­ter­ing back into the smaller towns. Dubbo is get­ting busi­ness but the smaller towns are suf­fer­ing. In­ject­ing money into these towns is now more im­por­tant than ever be­fore.”

Tyre­power has been sup­port­ing drought re­lief lo­cally through financial do­na­tions.

“We give money to South Dubbo Ro­tary who have a drought re­lief fund,” he ex­plained.

“We want to fund an agency that we feel is do­ing some­thing that makes a dif­fer­ence. And driv­ing dol­lars into a town is what is go­ing to make the big­gest dif­fer­ence. It’s in­ject­ing money to the peo­ple we are try­ing to keep em­ployed.”

Har­vey Nor­man fran­chisee Tim Dug­gan may be rea­son­ably new to Dubbo but he cer­tainly un­der­stands the value of keep­ing money in the lo­cal econ­omy.

“The big­gest thing I’m say­ing about shop­ping lo­cally is don’t be afraid to do it. If you are shop­ping lo­cally, you are sup­port­ing lo­cal em­ploy­ment.”

Mr Dug­gan said that when farm­ers are do­ing it tough, their spouses are of­ten work­ing off­farm. He pointed out that keep­ing money lo­cal sup­ports those in­comes.

“If you are sup­port­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity, it’s more op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to get jobs,” he said.

“The more peo­ple you can have shop­ping lo­cally, the more we can be sup­port­ing the lo­cal peo­ple.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Dug­gan, most re­tail items are avail­able in Dubbo.

“You can get all the things here that you can in Syd­ney,” he said.

“There’s no rea­son why you should go there when 85 to 90 per cent of things you can ac­tu­ally buy from the lo­cal com­mu­nity and pump the dol­lars into that econ­omy.”

– Max Robert­son

Dubbo is get­ting busi­ness but the smaller towns are suf­fer­ing. In­ject­ing money into these towns is now more im­por­tant than ever be­fore.”

– Tim Dug­gan

“The big­gest thing I’m say­ing about shop­ping lo­cally is don’t be afraid to do it. If you are shop­ping lo­cally, you are sup­port­ing lo­cal em­ploy­ment.”

“By be­ing here in a re­gional city like Dubbo for a long time, you start to get to know your cus­tomer per­son­ally.” – Dave Pankhurst

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