It was with great trepidation that we asked local businesses to tell us how they were traveling in a recent JobFix Survey. Local business is what drives our town. How the local business community feels affects us all. At the time the survey was due to be conducted, Auckland had just been locked back down unexpectedly, severely impacting local business. If the results were ugly, we were all looking at a tough few months.
So, we gulped and asked local business people how confident they were feeling. The survey was a week in length and finished on the 25th August. The results confirmed the tenacity and sheer will to succeed this district is renowned for. Instead of whining, our business community is digging deep and getting on with life as it is.
Understandably, 80% of the 199 businesses that responded had accessed the Government Wage Subsidy scheme. It has enabled more people more people to remain employed than would have otherwise been possible and also allowed businesses breathing space to adjust to our current environment. Many have adapted and innovated in that time creating new businesses and new opportunities. Pivoting is the buzz word of this brave new world we live in.
Nearly 70% of respondents believe their Queenstown business will survive purely on a domestic market and while having the Aussies here would be ideal, 80% do not want the bubble to open until the Aussies have sorted out their community transition issues.
In terms of how the business community is feeling about the current trading environment there is a fair dose of optimism. Of course, that is balanced with anxiety and uncertainty especially if the situation changes again. Businesspeople on the whole do not expect Queenstown to return to ‘normal’ anytime soon with most saying they do not expect a full recovery for 2-3 years, even longer.
Buying local in the meantime is a huge theme that has come through in the results. Those on the front line appreciate that locals are actively supporting local businesses and they are seeing it in their figures. That is a real key to keeping the local economy alive. Two-thirds report seeing the impact of local custom in their stores. It is obvious that our business people are supporting each other, particularly our local cafes, restaurants, and bars with three out of four respondents having eaten out in the last week.
Perhaps the most heartwarming statistic to come out of our Jobfix Survey was that 60% of respondents had more concern for how others were being impacted and the wider Queenstown community than their individual business. Simply amazing.
Clearly, Queenstown is a glass half full sort of town. We support each other in business as in life and prefer to roll up our sleeves than wallow in the mire. For all the dire predictions we are a resilient community and in difficult times, we hang together. Be proud Queenstown.
Queenstown Media Group
Thank you to all the business owners and managers who responded to the survey. The results were encouraging with a solid balance of concern for the future, reality that were aren’t going back to international tourism anytime soon and also enthusiasm to make the best of the situation.
Congratulations to Melissa from Surreal in Queenstown and Tania from Wanaka Joinery who were the winners of the survey draw. We will undertake a second wave of polling to measure the sentiment again in about 3 weeks' time.