FOSTER Chamber of Commerce and Industry members have thanked both local people and visitors holidaying throughout the Wilsons Promontory area for shopping locally, resulting in good summer trading so far for nearly every business.
Chamber president and Natural Living Foster owner Shelley Brewer said “it’s been so great with many happy tourists to be seen around Foster this January.
“Our locals were amazing over the Christmas period, just as they are throughout the year; all intent on shopping local and, in doing so, showing the much crucial support and love our business owners need.
“I hope the local community knows how much this means to us in these challenging times,” she said.
“We also appreciated the wonderful Christmas decorations in Main Street that were made possible with the support of the South Gippsland Shire Council.”
Adapting to and coping with constantly changing federal and state COVID-19 directives, striving to stay open as viral infection or exposure force owners and staff to isolate, and burgeoning Omicron case numbers in the wider community, are affecting businesses across Australia, including those in the Corner Inlet district.
“Every business-owner is over the changes to COVID-19-related requirements every second day – it’s hard work keeping up,” Ms Brewer said.
“Some local businesses have had to reduce their trading hours or temporarily close, with more of this sort of thing likely to come, as COVID affects staffing, and indeed, our customer bases, too,” she said.
“The general feeling Chamber members have been getting from the public in recent weeks though is that we all need to get on with life, and we all can help each other to do just that.
“Chamber members have also been saying there seems to be more Australian visitors around this year, particularly Victorians, because of little or no overseas travel, so people are looking around their own state instead,” Ms Brewer said.
“We’re urging everyone to keep shopping local, and don’t wait to shop; some of us may not be open tomorrow, and we need your support today,” she said.
“People everywhere need to do their best to be responsible, to respect each other and their choices, to be kind, and do the right thing.”
Insideout Clothing and Footwear proprietor Janine Best said “our Christmas trade was really great and well-supported by our locals who all wanted to shop local.
“Our summer trading has been positive, too, and the influx of tourists have all been so grateful to be here in Foster and are really enjoying shopping in boutique stores that are different to their city chains,” she said.
“The visitors are happy to be out and resuming normal life.”
Foster Hardware principal Dave County reported strong sales during the early part of the summer holiday period, including before Christmas and on the trading days around and following the New Year.
“The change in weather from summer sun to rain and wind however did see the number of people coming in to the store drop back for a while,” he said.
Foster Licensed Post Office’s Phil Rerden said the month of December 2021 for the Post Office was “absolutely record-breaking” in regard to the volume of both incoming and outgoing parcels.
Pulham’s Carpet and Furniture co-owner Kate Pulham said “it’s been a really good season for us.
“We’ve seen some beautiful weather, which has brought the people into town early in the day, with the afternoons being a little bit quieter and good for the locals,” she said.
“Obviously we have to very careful with what’s going on, but most customers have been sticking to the regulations to keep us safe, and that’s been very good, too.”
Main Street Revelations proprietor Deborah Harris said “people have been wearing masks, keeping their distance, and locals are shopping local.
“Every day someone makes my day by telling me how much they love my shop, and that always means a lot,” she said.
Foster Pharmacy owner Chi Chiu said “compared to last year we are seeing a lot more Melbourne people.
“We have been busier this summer than we were at the same time in 2021, and I think people have gotten used to wearing masks, sanitising and checking in,” he said.