OPINION: The sight of vacant shop-fronts is becoming a frequent scene, but in their place, there are some wonderful local success stories in online trading.
With social media platforms like Instagram being the fastest growing marketing medium on the planet, it's no wonder local small businesses such as Thursday Love and Once Was Lost have found their market in online retailing.
Thursday Love began as a shopfront in Maryborough, but with the accessibility of social media, it meant the shift from bricks and mortar to online trading was an easy decision for owner Emily Blundellu to make.
The possibility of receiving instant feedback and photographs from a broader global community of buyers allows Emily to shape her online products to meet the demand.
The success of Once Was Lost, which has amassed more than 16,000 fans, is proving that you don't need to be in a major city to deliver top quality products on a broad national scale.
The creative husband and wife duo, Laura and Andy Wortlock, say the ability to trade online means they're not dictated by specific opening hours, as you would be with a store-front.
Although there is still a significant amount of work involved in running an online business, the flexibility of it allows the couple to balance lunch dates with work commitments.
The key to success comes down to managing their time efficiently and passion for their brand.
So what does this mean for traditional small business owners? I don't see it as a step backwards.
We will always need certain retailers to trade via traditional methods.
But with the rise of online trading, more successful people such as the owners of these two companies, are no longer being driven out of smaller country towns and into cities, like they used to.
With online trading, there are now more opportunities for people to follow their dreams while living in regions such as the Fraser Coast.
This is only a positive for our region because we are keeping revenue within our local community.
With unemployment figures for the region as high as they are, thinking outside the box with ways to earn money is now made that little bit easier with access to trading online.
If start-up costs for small businesses are reduced also, then surely more locals being involved in online retailing, can only add value to our region.