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Pastie sales sign of downturn

Saturday, 14th May, 2016

By Erica Visser

Business in Argent Street has been so flat over recent weeks and months that not even the hot pasties are selling.

Macs Oven Foods’ Greg Lively was just one CBD trader feeling the pinch in what has been variously described as a nationwide epidemic and a direct result of the 140 mining jobs lost in Broken Hill in March.

“The economic situation in the town has got people a little worried,” Mr Lively said.

“It’s starting to pick up for us now in the food industry with the cooler weather coming on but this year has been a little harder than normal.”

It was a sentiment shared by the bakery’s neighbour, Town ‘N’ Country Bicycle owner Ricky Cooper, who spent Wednesday cleaning the store to pass time.

“It’s extremely quiet. I’ve been back through my takings now for the last three years and I’m down probably 25 per cent,” said Mr Cooper, of the 20-year-old store.

“I’ve got one employee here and I’m struggling to keep my head above water with him at the moment.

“It’s Australia wide. My reps tell me that Adelaide’s down, everywhere’s down, but then there’s the mining companies slowing down.

“There’s a few dollars not being spread around. We have to tighten our belt - everyone’s just playing it safe.”

One block towards the heart of the CBD, business appears to be no better.

Owner of Destiny, a women’s clothes and accessories store, Kellie McAllister said she was “hanging in there”.

“It’s very slow. People just don’t seem to want to spend the money,” she said.

“The only thing I could put it down to was the mines even though people know where they’re at with the job losses now.

“I’m hanging in there. You’ve got to be optimistic but I don’t know what’s going through people’s heads.”

Ms McAllister said that looming water and land rates could also have kept shoppers away - a pressure Mr Cooper knew only too well himself.

“The water’s gone up, electricity’s gone up, the rates in Argent Street are roughly $4600.

“I’ve been paying that for years and I haven’t received anything for them; no beautifying of the street in front of my shop.

“I don’t know how much longer I can stay here.”

While long-term shoe store owner Peter Nash conceded trade had been “certainly quiet”, he was not concerned.

“We’ve had a boost with Agfair and Mother’s Day. Week to week it has been slow considering the mining uncertainties,” Mr Nash said.

“One would hope going forward six to eight weeks into the new financial year, we’d be doing well.”

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