• Charlotte Rimmer

Covid: Taking Care of Business

Updated: Feb 12

Our local economy had a shocking end to 2020 and a devastating beginning to 2021. Although the Northern Beaches lockdown was necessary, it was also at the worst possible time of year, coinciding with what should have been local businesses’ busiest time. From March to December, we focused on realistic and positive revival strategies for the economy, only to be hit with a closure right at the time business was preparing to make up lost earnings from previous closures. So, what are we doing about it at Manly Business Chamber?

Manly Business Chamber President, Charlotte Rimmer

We’ve been working with Council to improve the outdoor dining opportunities in Manly, addressing parking issues for business to assist in ease of doing business, and developing activations in and around The Corso, Market Lane, etc. to encourage regional tourists and “Staycations”, while trying to activate some energy back into the area that is seeing a significantly reduced footfall in visitors.

Manly relies heavily on tourism as well as the regular patronage of our residents. The buzz and hype in our restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels comes from our residents combined with regional and international tourism. Many of our businesses are staffed by travellers who work locally to make money for their trips around Australia. ICMS contributes over $20 million to the economy annually through its international students living in Manly and surrounding areas, so when all this was halted, high stress ensued, but the local community is very keen to support its local businesses.

With a “Manly” lens, we recognise we’re sometimes seen as a gateway to the rest of the Northern Beaches and know these closures will be impacting everyone right through to Palm Beach. There are 5 Business Chambers on the Peninsula and we’ve been working in collaboration with Northern Beaches Council to ensure our local businesses are being heard and effective solutions offered.

The Northern Beaches Council’s Business Support Service offers a support line and a guarantee that you will always speak to the same Council Business Liaison Officer. Communication, marketing and collaboration are all key to improving the economy. In the short term, we’ve been requesting stimulus packages to help business retain staff and continue to pay rent. We liaise closely with Manly MP James Griffin; sit at roundtable discussions with NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Finance and Small Business Minister Dominic Tudehope to discuss financial solutions; we’ve been represented in the SMH, Peninsula Living, Manly Daily, Manly Observer, on ABC radio and, most importantly, The Tawny Frogmouth. We work closely with Northern Beaches Council and the other Chambers to ensure we use our voice to support business.

Business Chambers are Not-For-Profits whose mission is to support and serve local business. We recognise that in order to be heard, we need a voice and local representation, and we encourage the Manly business community to work cohesively to accomplish collectively what cannot be achieved as individuals. It’s been heartbreaking listening to the stories of families who own business across the Northern Beaches.

Through our Instagram @manlychamber we promote local business along with @backyourlocalau and our newsletters. We hold regular events that are always sold out and create a great environment to have a relaxed chat with others about how we can work together. Our Executive Committee, all volunteers, consists of 11 people representing sectors across property, education, hospitality, events and professional services, all with a local presence. We know what’s happening out there and are keen to keep unemployment low and the economy strong.

Support us so that we can support you: www.manly.org.au/membership/join-or-renew-online

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