Ted Bailey at Toormina’s Mitre 10.
Ted Bailey at Toormina’s Mitre 10.

Economy will recover: businessman

COFFS HARBOUR businessman Ted Bailey reckons our local economy has the ability to recover from any setback.

He admits things are quiet at the moment, but he reckons the business community can look forward to a turnaround.

And he should know – his family hardware firm, Mitre 10 at Toormina, has been going for more than 50 years and he’s been there for 45 of them.

“I have always been an optimist. Coffs Harbour has got a great future and it will definitely bounce back from any adversity,” Mr Bailey said.

“It’s one of the best places in Australia to live and with more people wanting to come here and our population increasing, there will be more demand on what our businesses can offer them.”

Mr Bailey said it was not unusual for February to be a quiet month for retailers.

“Things are quiet at the moment, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s not unusual for this time of year,” he said.

“I think people are getting pre-Christmas credit card bills and you get a bit of personal expenditure that’s not coming the way of retail stores.

“It’s going into other things like paying bills.”

As for the past six months, Mr Bailey said his store had been trading well, but that’s obviously not the case everywhere, he said.

“I guess the downfall of a couple of fairly major building contractors has hurt the hardware and building supplies industry to a degree because there’s tradies out there relying on that work.”

Retired businessman Mike Blewitt says he’s never seen a good February for business in Coffs Harbour.

“People are sending their kids back to school, they’re paying off credit cards and they’re re-assessing how they spend their money,” said Mr Blewitt, who sold cars in Coffs Harbour for nearly 30 years.

“There is as assessment in their mind of their liquidity and their budgets.

“What’s really needed is for the market to be motivated – businesses need offers out there to attract customers, whether it’s, for example, two meals for the price of one or half-price offers. You have to motivate the market.

“We have a lot of steady money. We have a number of people that the hospital employs, that schools employ, that the university employs and this gives us stability and incomes.”

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