Gnowangerup launches new co-op­er­a­tive

Great Southern Herald - - News - Shan­non Smith

The tight knit com­mu­nity of Gnowangerup has come to­gether to kick­start the lo­cal econ­omy and the fu­ture of their town with the GNP 360 Co-op­er­a­tive.

In or­der to beat the trend of shrink­ing ru­ral towns, a team of lo­cals has been work­ing over the past 10 months on a plan to in­vig­o­rate and en­cour­age life and vi­brancy.

Sec­re­tary Cas­san­dra Beeck said that in the past two decades the town had seen many busi­nesses close their doors, in­clud­ing their last two re­main­ing banks.

“GNP 360 was birthed from a group of concerned lo­cals who wanted to do some­thing about the de­cline of busi­ness in our main street and it started around a kitchen ta­ble in De­cem­ber 2017,” she said.

“Once, Gnowangerup had a bak­ery, a dress shop, a hair­dresser and beau­ti­cian, a newsagency, sev­eral banks and sev­eral other thriv­ing busi­nesses.

“Last year we lost our won­der­ful hair­dresser and beau­ti­cian who ran a very busy and prof­itable full­time busi­ness when she moved away with her hus­band.

“Th­ese losses were the cat­a­lyst for GNP360 to get to­gether to see what could be done.”

The new group plan to pro­vide sup­port and help in the form of low-cost premises for new busi­nesses to start up and get on their feet.

The co-op’s in­au­gu­ral project aim is to se­cure the long-term shop­ping con­ve­nience by procur­ing a build­ing that will serve as an at­trac­tive shop­ping hub for a va­ri­ety of po­ten­tial in­dus­tries in the main street.

Ms Beeck said that they like to see it as lo­cal busi­nesses, sup­port­ing lo­cal peo­ple, sup­port­ing lo­cal busi­nesses.

“We do not want to be forced into a position where we may have to drive to Katan­ning or Al­bany for ba­sic sup­plies.

Eight di­rec­tors will run the co-op and Richard House is the chair­man. The ini­tial term is two years and af­ter this di­rec­tors will be elected by the mem­bers in a nom­i­na­tion/vot­ing process.

The new co-op­er­a­tive launched last Thurs­day night.

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