Nigel McBride , CEO Business SA
The sun is shining and spring has finally sprung. As the seasons change and the mercury creeps up, the time has come to get out and about and start helping the South Australian economy grow.
It is time to leave the house – whether it be for Saturday brunches and Sunday lunches, walks along our pristine beaches, visits to local playgrounds, bike rides along the Torrens or hikes in the hills.
While we’re out, it doesn’t take much to buy a coffee or a bun at a bakery, order fish and chips at a beachside takeaway, or wash the car at the petrol station down the road.
Buy a spare tyre or repair kit for the bike, a few tennis balls from a sports store, or some fertiliser for the much-needed post-winter garden overhaul.
That also means small business owners, such as coffee or ice cream vans, finding the spots where people are likely to be so they can satisfy the hungry hordes.
The new adventure playground at Morialta Conservation Park officially opened last week and there have been hundreds of people picnicking, climbing equipment, exploring the creek and hiking up to the waterfall. But not a coffee van in sight, and hundreds of adults looking for a takeaway caffeine fix.
For those less active, cafes are unpacking their chairs and umbrellas and hoping the spring will bring an upturn in trade.
The East End is struggling with the closure of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital and the surrounding roadworks, and traders along Rundle Street and nearby laneways also need a boost as their businesses suffer a downturn following the exodus west.
Take a walk through the Botanic Gardens and finish the stroll with a latte on East Terrace and an ice cream for the kids, or a beer at a hip hotel. The retail and hospitality industry will appreciate your patronage.
The state’s economy needs every job it can get as it faces the impact of Holden’s closure and its flow-on effects. The hospitality and retail industries are not immune to the broader economic challenges, and the RAH closure clearly hasn’t helped.
If cafes and small retailers in the East End start putting off casuals, those people will struggle to pay their own bills, and are less likely to go out at night for a meal, movie or trip to the pub if they have less cash in their pocket.
Let’s avoid the vicious cycle of slow cafes and closing shops as Christmas approaches. The last thing we need is a retail and hospitality valley of death between now and Mad March.
Spending a few dollars here or there may have little impact on the average hip pocket, but to a small business paying wages and trying to make a profit, every dollar helps.