NORTH COAST Ad Agency owner David Kavanagh (centre) and members of his staff.
NORTH COAST Ad Agency owner David Kavanagh (centre) and members of his staff.

Northern Rivers businesses adjust to hard times

THE local hospitality sector is proving resilient in the face of the economic downturn, with solid accommodation and restaurant bookings over Christmas/New Year period.

Lois Kelly, of the Lismore Economic Development Unit, said the Jazz Convention had helped boost local businesses, particularly motels and hotels.

“I was here over Christmas and the New Year and the place was buzzing. Local retail businesses are telling me how good business has been,” she said.

“There is no hard data yet, but the feeling is that business in Lismore is doing well.”

The real estate sector is also reporting strong interest in small commercial investment properties in Lismore.

Wal Murray First National commercial sales consultant Wilson Cregan said that while there might be
more vacant shops in the region right now, there was a lot of commercial competition and the
situation could change quickly.

“In the middle of last year there were 11 vacant shops in the Star Court Arcade, and now there are two. It’s a fluid market,” he said.

But the effects of the global meltdown are being felt in different ways by different businesses.

One local business hit by the downturn has come up with an innovative solution – a four-day week for all.

When it became clear early last month the cash flow of the North Coast Ad Agency in Lismore was diminishing, owner David Kavanagh talked to his staff and decided the advertising business would introduce a four-day week, Monday to Thursday. All staff, including Mr Kavanagh, are giving up 20 per cent of their salaries, but are willing to make the change to maintain their jobs and continue to offer the full services of the business.

“There were a few other scenarios I looked at, but the four-day week was my favourite and it was one that staff embraced. We did have two staff leave, but we felt a four-day week was the best way to keep up our team energy, maintain our full range of services, and the easiest to organise,” he said.


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