Beloved family business joins wave of stores forced to close

THE weekend announcement by the Prime Minister that outdoor and indoor gatherings must be restricted to two people came in the wake of more Gympie region business closures and job losses.

Stewart Terrace Butchery closed. Photo: Bec Singh
Stewart Terrace Butchery closed. Photo: Bec Singh

Beloved and long term Gympie butcher shop Stewart Terrace Butchery has closed its doors, though the owners were reluctant to say more on the situation yesterday.

Walking around the Central Shopping Centre, more and more doors are closed, with the familiar note to customers sticky-taped to the front.

Tramcars Express, Katies, Flight Centre, Helloworld Travel, USA Nails and Footspa, Angus & Coote, Noni B, Robins Kitchen, Rockmans, Specsavers, Spendless Shoes, Jeanswest, Williams, Autopgraph, Strandbags, Prouds, W.Lane and Easy Life Massage have all now been forced to shut up shop - for the time being at least..

Coffee Club and Gloria Jeans are both trying to stay open, offering takeaway coffee and food - but it is a struggle.

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Flight Centre in Gympie is another business which has had to close its doors in regards to the governments rules. Photo: Bec Singh
Flight Centre in Gympie is another business which has had to close its doors in regards to the governments rules. Photo: Bec Singh

Gloria Jeans has 10 staff member, two full-time and eight casual, and owners Gail Gipp and Leeanne Thompson are trying to keep them employed.

“We are a lot quieter, but we are hanging in there. We have got a lot of great regulars, so they are supporting us. We don’t have the older crowds but at the same time people are trying to support us,” Ms Gipp said.

Gloria Jeans co-owner Gail Gipp is happy to still have the doors open while she and co-owner Leeanne Thompson can. Photo: Bec Singh
Gloria Jeans co-owner Gail Gipp is happy to still have the doors open while she and co-owner Leeanne Thompson can. Photo: Bec Singh

“Sales have dropped rapidly; we are doing about a third of our normal trade but at the same time we are trying to stay open until they (the Federal Government) say cafes have to shut. We have reduced our staff hours, but we have retained all our full-time staff and casuals are just getting reduced hours.

“We are hoping the government comes forward with help for small businesses and Central itself does something about the rent. We haven’t let any staff go and are trying to at least give them a shift a week. We have a great mix of old and young staff. We are just balancing it out between them.

Some businesses have not been so lucky. Tramcars Express would have been busy but are now shut. Photo: Bec Singh
Some businesses have not been so lucky. Tramcars Express would have been busy but are now shut. Photo: Bec Singh

“We have gone from a 300-hour roster to 112-hour roster. It is a massive difference. We are just trying to do whatever we can to keep morale up at the same time and try and have a bit of fun”.

Coffee Club has lost 93 per cent of its trade.

“With the latest government restrictions brought in on Sunday, with just two people gatherings and only essential travel, it has put us in a precarious position because what do we do?” store manager Delvene Bateman said.

“It has definitely been quieter but the support from our regulars and the local community has been amazing. We are offering a takeaway menu and also have a driver for home deliveries. But it is hard times for everybody. We have had to lay off staff, not forever hopefully, but I am sure there will be jobs available for them when it all picks up again.

“We just have two of us, myself and Bek Hinchey the kitchen manager and the delivery driver but we try to bring a few of the younger trainee girls to help out every now and again to keep them in touch with the business”.