‘Our sales plummeted by 80 per cent overnight’
SHOPPING restrictions have brought many small businesses to their knees, but tomorrow brings hope for a new beginning.
Shoppers are expected to flock to retail centres this weekend with the Queensland Government easing COVID-19 restrictions after more than a month of essential-only shopping allowed.
Graham Todd, who owns Crystal Journey stores at Strathpine and Toombul, was forced to lay off staff at the end of March but stubbornly remained open while many businesses around him shut their doors.
"Our sales income plummeted by more than 80 per cent overnight," he said.
"But I believed we offer an essential service, particularly in the realm of emotional support and nurturing products, as many people were confused and anxious due to the changes in their daily routine.
"Interestingly, our sales of incense and calming products increased, together with people popping in for just a little chat and a little reassurance."
Mr Todd manned the stores himself on reduced hours until he the federal government's JobKeeper grant cleared, and was able to reinstate staff.
"It has been a very difficult time financially and emotionally but thanks to the government support, we should be able to weather the storm and hopefully come back even stronger," Mr Todd said.
Many non-essential retailers, including clothing and jewellery stores, will open their doors tomorrow for the first time in over a month.
"I expect customers to return in smaller numbers quite quickly, but it will take quite some time to get back to normal," Mr Todd said.
Daniel Costelloe, who owns Uno Caffe in the Strathpine Centre, said he too expected more people through the centre from tomorrow.
"It's been tough but we know there will be an end to this," he said.
"Our customers have been fantastic to be honest.
"I had a tear in my eye yesterday when I got a card and a gift from one of our customers.
"I normally don't get emotional but that was lovely."
Originally published as 'Our sales plummeted by 80 per cent overnight'