THE ISSUE of retail rent in Rockhampton's CBD played a big role in deciding where Emily Dowling would open her own business.
After getting quotes from shopfronts in East St and weighing up the costs of the monthly rent bill, the young business owner had to think of other locations to home her business.
And Emily, 21 isn't the only one who thinks retail rent in the region is too expensive. Up to 72% of people surveyed in the Maurice Blackburn Be Heard survey agreed.
Emily has now owned her own business, Polly Lane Boutique, for a year and said she was glad she shopped around to find a location with affordable rent.
"Originally I did look at East St but it was so expensive and I felt like I wouldn't get much for my money in terms of the buildings and extra costs I'd have to put forward to enhance it," she said.
"It took a lot of looking around to find somewhere still in the CBD and affordable but I eventually found somewhere. If I did have my business in East St and had much more expensive rent I wouldn't be able to offer discount prices on my items like I do, it would all be as expensive as it is online, but I try to keep my prices low to encourage people to shop locally and support local business.
"I would agree that retail rent in Rockhampton is expensive but it does depend on the location and what you get for your money. If you're a business that really depends on foot traffic than you're going to want your shopfront in a popular location where the rent will be higher."
Emily said the price of retail rent had major impacts on other elements of owning and operating a business and that cheaper rent would benefit more business owners.
"Having affordable rent means the business owner can afford other things to help their business; be that employing more staff, advertising, buying new stock, things like that. If rent was cheaper in the region businesses would be hugely benefited," she said.
"I think the price of rent for businesses should be a lot cheaper as it would encourage more people to start their own businesses. There are so many empty shopfronts in the CBD but if rent was more affordable businesses could use those spaces and get the CBD back up and booming. The issue of car parking is also a concern in the CBD."