Orbost businesses are faring well despite the disruptions they endured last year.
The Snowy River Mail last week took to the streets to inquire just how they were getting along over summer and most reported they were happy with trade over the past few weeks.
Café’ One2Five has been doing steady business thanks to the summer tourist season.
“Since we were able to open the borders to Melbourne visitors it’s been constant,” Katrina Thomas, told the Snowy.
“We’ve been very pleased with it.
“Since school has gone back, it’s been a bit quiet, but there’s still been quite a few grey nomads travelling through.”
Chooky’s Roost has also traded well throughout the holiday period.
“We were flat out over Christmas when they closed the borders,” Jet Mull said.
“On New Year’s Day, we had customers queuing up in here.
“Chooky’s is always busy,” she said.
Ms Mull said patronage had started to slow in the past couple of weeks as the holidays drew to a close.
“You’re losing money when it slows down,” Ms Mull said.
Heather Staples, from the One Stop Discount Shop, said despite the lockdowns, she had managed to keep the doors open throughout COVID.
“We’ve been good, it’s been very steady,” she said.
“We had a good Christmas with people coming in and buying everything.”
The owner of Classic Living Orbost, Rob Gibbs, said business “has been busy right through”.
“The locals have been doing their homes which has carried us through,” said Mr Gibbs, who has owned the business for 16 years.
“It’s still ticking over. Once they let them out of Melbourne it was good.”
Vicki Stevens, who owns Andrew’s Land & Surf, said she’d been selling “bits of everything”. “It’s been good, we’ve had a lot of tourists around,” Mrs Stevens said. “The locals still try and come in and see what we’ve got too.” Mrs Stevens said while business has calmed down in the last week or so, she said that wasn’t unusual.
“It normally does after they go back to school,” she said.
The newly opened Snowy River Emporium also gave the thumbs up to good patronage.
Jenny Bartlett, who operates the retro-style shop with her mother and sister, said “business has been good”.
The Cozy Café’, which was taken over by Christina Richards and Jocelyn Harvey, in the first week of December last year, has been going well.
“Taking over during the holidays we got hammered,” Ms Harvey said.
“It’s been good though, the locals have been awesome.”
The manager of Hof Design and Boutique, Veronique Stevenson, was critical of the State Government’s response to COVID.
“I’ve had to close my business twice because of it,” Ms Stevenson said. “The Premier needs to pull his head in. We go back and forth, back and forth and we lose business.
“People get confused with masks and some who have to wear a mask won’t go out, it’s so frustrating for them and also for me.
“Business wise it’s hurting us. It’s just too much madness, it shouldn’t happen.”
Amanda Storr from the Orbost Bakery, told the Snowy that trade had been excellent since she and her husband, Bevan, took over the business in September. However, Ms Storr admitted it was hard wearing masks “while the ovens are on”. The Orbost Newsagency reported a good couple of months. The newsagency remained open during the
coronavirus pandemic to allow the newspapers and Tattslotto tickets to be sold.
Paulene Hambling said the Australia Day long weekend “was just crazy”.
Orbost Home Timber and Hardware was also “ticking along”.
“It’s just starting to back off now,” Brian Harrison said.
Mr Harrison said the holiday trade started a fortnight earlier than usual and held on about a fortnight later than it normally would.
He said camping gear, gas bottle refills and “tourists buying bits and pieces” had kept the hardware store in the black.
“January is usually tourism trade,” Mr Harrison said.
“I usually give the tourists a bit of information of other places they can go to such as Woods Point and so on,” he said.
Tim Behan from the Orbost Club Hotel told the Snowy that January had “been pretty good”.
“January was terrible last year but this year it’s been good, we’re up about four per cent,” he said. Mr Behan said Australia Day was busy and while business has started to slow he remains hopeful that grey nomad travellers will be thirsty.
Jet Mull serves up the chips at Chooky’s Roost in the Main Street of Orbost last Thursday. K26-9418