Urangan business owners (L) Julie Reid (Salt Cafe), Deanne McGrouther (The Ibis Next Door) and Tracy Atkinson (The Hervey Bay Hat Co) looking forward to brighter times.Photo: Alistair Brightman
Urangan business owners (L) Julie Reid (Salt Cafe), Deanne McGrouther (The Ibis Next Door) and Tracy Atkinson (The Hervey Bay Hat Co) looking forward to brighter times.Photo: Alistair Brightman

Teamwork makes the dream work for embattled tourist hub

JUST a few steps from one of the Fraser Coast’s most recognisable landmarks, something remarkable is happening.

Business owners who have every excuse to throw their hands up in despair are instead abuzz with positivity.

In the shopping district surrounding Urangan Pier, boutique doors are open and cafes are steadily getting back to their pre-pandemic glory.

It’s all thanks to community spirit and some strategic teamwork.

As COVID-19 took its inevitable toll on the small businesses that are the lifeblood of the popular tourist precinct, store owners decided to face it together.

The owners of businesses including Salt Cafe, Ibis Next Door and Hervey Bay Hat Co realised what was good for one was good for all.

They put aside any thoughts of competition and set about supporting each other through social media and in-person referrals.

This included promoting each other’s Mother’s Day deals and adjusted opening hours.

According to Julie Reid, co-owner of Salt and Ibis, it hearkens back to a simpler time when businesses worked together as cooperatives.

“Everyone was tagging each other to encourage people down to the area,” she said.

“It’s good for everyone so let’s share the love around.”

Tracy Atkinson, Hervey Bay Hat Co owner, said the support from her fellow business owners had made a world of difference.

She took a significant financial hit, to be sure, much like almost every business in the region.

What she managed to avoid, however, was the mental and emotional toll of doing it all alone.

“Banding together, it gives you that support and network that helps you get through it and makes you feel like you can do it,” Ms Atkinson said.

Urangan Pier is one of Hervey Bay’s biggest tourist drawcards and Ms Atkinson said businesses in the area relied upon holiday trade to offer a financial boost.

As Queensland’s borders remain shut, she knows the usual boost will not come this year.

Both she and Ms Reid are hopeful, however, that eased travel restrictions within the state will make a difference.

“The pier is an icon so people that travel to Hervey Bay want to walk out on the pier,” Ms Reid said.

“It is a tourist attraction so opening up for people from afar, hopefully we’re in the right place.”



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