and PETA-MARIE PHILIPPOU
A LOCAL chamber of commerce manager says shopping local has never been so critical and has encouraged Riverlanders to back small businesses this Christmas.
“It’s important to support local businesses because we’re all doing it tough at the moment,” said Sonya Altschwager, Loxton Chamber of Commerce business and events manager.
“This has been a challenging year and with restrictions in travel, it has given everyone the opportunity to really appreciate and value our local business community. We encourage everyone to look local first to keep regional towns alive.”
Businesses along Loxton’s main shopping precinct, East Terrace, will offer additional trading hours throughout December.
“Businesses will be opening on Sundays in December,” Ms Altschwager said.
“Sundays are a great day for people who work all week to get out and do some shopping.”
Loxton shops will open from 10am to 2pm, on Sundays, December 6, 13 and 20.
As always, the town of Loxton will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland, with main street decorations on show and a number of Christmas activities potentially on offer.
“We’re hoping to have some Christmas activities to add to the Sunday trading atmosphere during December, but it is hard to plan anything at the moment so it will be down to ongoing planning,” Ms Altschwager said.
“We’re not sure what our options are going to be with the latest COVID outbreak so we’ll leave it until the last minute.”
Ms Altschwager said locals also have the option of supporting Riverland businesses by visiting their online stores.
“Not only do people need to come into the shops to shop local, you can also consider online shopping can be done to support locals,” she said.
“Lots of retailers and businesses provide an online option and they can also do curb-side pick-up or deliveries.
“So even if you do enjoy the convenience of shopping online, you can still shop local”
Ms Altschwager said Loxton’s East Terrace has become a tourist attraction in itself.
“The Loxton Chamber of Commerce has worked to create a real identity for East Terrace, and we have a webpage listing all the businesses you can find on East Terrace,” she said.
“It’s a way of attracting tourists to our town and showing there’s a real vibrant shopping precinct here in Loxton.
“We’re also listed on Trip Advisor so people can leave reviews and rate us.
“We’re proud to have a thriving and dynamic village-style main street that is really central, so it draws people here and the whole town can benefit.
“The majority of our businesses are family owned or independently run, so we have a lot of really unique stores.”
Ms Altschwager said vouchers were a “fantastic option” for any hard-to-buy-for loved ones.
“These provide a great option for Christmas if you’re not sure what to buy,” she said.
“Vouchers are available for purchase from the Loxton Library and Visitor Centre in East Terrace seven days a week, or online at the Chamber’s website www.loxtonchamber.com.au.
“Loxton Gift Vouchers offer an amazing choice because they can be used in any of our 157-member businesses and it means the money stays locally.
“To date nearly $400,000 worth of vouchers have been sold – that’s an incredible injection back into our member businesses and the local economy.”
Meanwhile, Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone has also strongly encouraged Riverlanders to support local this festive season.
“There is no doubt that our local economy has been hit by this pandemic and we must all now do what we can to get it back on its feet,” he said.
“Every dollar spent locally stimulates the economy, and supporting a local business is supporting a local job.”
“Businesses across Riverland have made huge sacrifices by adhering to restrictions and helping to stop the spread of COVID-19, and we can show our support by thinking about what we need to buy and making a choice to shop locally.”
“I encourage everyone in the Riverland to ‘think local and shop local’ and get back to buying from independent and local businesses wherever we can.
“The Riverland is fortunate to have a fantastic range of businesses, with great local service and if each of us buys something locally, we can really make a difference.
“Small businesses are the heart of our region and these businesses need us to pull together, look out for each other and buy local at every opportunity.
“Buying local this Christmas is more important than ever and if we don’t support our local businesses now, they may not be here in the future.”