Narrabri Shire businesses have breathed a sigh of relief after being able to return to a more regular level of trade following the easing of public health restrictions.
Businesses across the retail, beauty and hospitality industries roared into action following the lifting of a stay-at-home order for the area from 1pm last Thursday.
For many non-essential businesses, that meant reopening their shopfronts on Friday, September 17.
For shops like The Grayhound, Lisa Dee’s, Barrakets, Toyworld, Sports Power, Taps Tubs n Tiles, Uknow Ah and Imagine Nails and Beauty, last Friday was their first full day of trading in over a month.
With workers thrilled to be back in the shop, and customers excited to support local business, the main street of Narrabri has been buzzing ever since.
Local businesses, especially those just coming out of their second COVID-19 lockdown, have been kept busy.
The Grayhound’s Shawn Wales said her team took their time in lockdown as an opportunity to revamp the store.
“We’ve done a bit of a rearrange,” she said.
“And our customers have made some really positive comments on the new look.”
Mrs Wales said it was great seeing so many familiar faces in her store on Friday.
“It’s been so delightful to see all of our lovely customers again,” she said.
“Our team has been busy all morning, but it’s just been wonderful – coming out of lockdown so soon was a great surprise.
“You can really tell everyone’s glad to be allowed out and about once more.”
Dennise Simshauser of Lisa Dee’s had a similar attitude, saying she was relieved to be trading again.
“It was nice to have some time at home, but we’re delighted to be able to open our doors to customers again,” she said.
“I didn’t expect lockdown to end this week, so I’m spending a lot of my first day back on the phone, confirming orders and arranging new stock.”
The Barrakets team was also busy organising new stock, spending the first full day back at work unpacking new summer clothing.
Proprietor Monique Gett said locals are very excited to see so many stores reopening post-lockdown.
“We were in store on Thursday afternoon, rearranging some things so we were ready to go first thing Friday morning, and we had passers-by asking if they could come in to browse the store,” she said.
“It’s been wonderful to see so many keen to support local businesses, especially as people start to do their Christmas shopping.”
The team at Toyworld and Sports Power agreed, with Brent and Joan Longworth saying both stores have been busy with Christmas presents and lay-bys.
“We’re about to place our final stock order for the year in the next few weeks, getting ready for the holidays,” Mr Longworth said.
“Friday morning alone I sold three skateboards and a number of running shoes, so we’ll definitely need to replenish our stock ahead of Christmas.
“We’ve been doing phone orders over the course of lockdown, but it’s great that our customers can now come in store to browse products in person.”
Taps, Tubs n Tiles had the same approach to the latest shut down, having offered deliveries and customer pick-ups while Narrabri was locked down.
“We kept the doors open during the first lockdown, so this one was a little different, but we’re doing everything we can to make the sales process as stress-free and safe as we can for our customers,” co-businessowner Matthew Hamilton said.
“COVID has presented plenty of challenges that have impacted all kinds of businesses, but we believe it’s important to adapt and overcome these obstacles in order to continue maintaining the high-quality retail experience customers have come to expect.”
One factor helping a number of businesses across NSW overcome these challenges has been government assistance.
Simone Kerr of Uknow Ah said these one-off COVID grants have been a great help, meaning she’s able to reopen her doors for longer trading hours post-lockdown.
“Not only does the end of lockdown in Narrabri mean we can reopen our sauna and gym facilities, but we’re also able to welcome new customers and more walk-ins because our storefront will be open for longer,” she said.
“Tighter restrictions meant Uknow Ah could only open for booked appointments, and we were restricted in the services we could offer, so it’s just brilliant to be trading as usual once again.
“Our team is all vaccinated and ready to get back to business.”
Jenna McDonald from Imagine Nails & Beauty echoed this sentiment, saying her team is excited to be back at work after more than a month of being shut down.
“We’re busy catching up on all those people who missed bookings over the five-week shut down,” she said.
“Everyone in the community has been so supportive, our phones have been ringing non-stop.”
Local businessowners are overwhelmed with the levels of community support they’ve seen since lockdown lifted, and encourage this investment in local goods and services to continue.
They’d like to express their sincere gratitude to the people of Narrabri Shire.
For more information on local businesses, head to Narrabri Now.
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Dennise Simshauser (Lisa Dee’s).
Ebonnie Stockwell (Uknow Ah).
Brent and Joan Longworth (Toyworld).
Leeann Hannaford, Shawn Wales and Leonie Wales (The Grayhound).
Matthew Hamilton and Sheridan Lewis (Tabs, Tubs n Tiles).
Monique Gett and Maddi Condon (Barrakets).
Jenna McDonald (Imagine Nails & Beauty).
Rob Edge and Zenna Pearsall (Tatts Hotel).
Shaigh Thompson and Mackenzie Russell (Tourist Hotel).