It could be cyclical
ONE local company that acts as a yardstick of the Coffs Harbour economy and business climate is Aylward Auctioneers.
Dealing with liquidated company auctions and closing-down sales daily, Glenn Aylward agrees there’s enough evidence to suggest the Coffs Coast could be in a downturn.
Mr Aylward noted there’s been a spike in local companies ‘shutting up shop’, but he says it’s been a trend over the past five years and not a short-term spike.
“Sure we are hearing it’s been a tough slog for a lot of businesses in Coffs Harbour recently but if there’s been a business downturn it’s happening everywhere,” Mr Aylward said.
“Coffs Harbour really didn’t feel the credit crunch 12 months ago due to the stimulus packages and the injection from all the work after the floods of 2009. To be honest though the title of a ‘closing down’ sale really is a bit misleading.
“It may paint a dire picture of the local economy seeing liquidated company auctions in the paper but in a lot of these instances, companies haven’t gone broke, they just haven’t renewed their leases or they’ve been in business a long time and have decided to get out.
“Things were a lot worse 10-15 years ago,” he said.
Along with administration firms, the auction house regularly deals with outgoing, disillusioned and even struggling business owners seeking returns on their investments.
“A lot of people who have been in business for around 30 years say they’re getting out due to the heavy impost of taxation or they’ve been doing the hard hours for so long it all becomes too hard. I think it’s extremely difficult to resell a business these days and that’s a factor as well,” he said.
“A positive is that there’s money out there as well, look at (Thursday’s) auctions. Here we were in a stinking hot shed and a crowd of 100 people has turned out. From downturns to booms it’s all a cycle.”