Small retailers put in the spotlight

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph
Daphne Talbert and Janet Sutherland of Sound Business Equipment.
Camera IconDaphne Talbert and Janet Sutherland of Sound Business Equipment.

The commercial spotlight is on small businesses in Rockingham and Kwinana this week for WA Small Business Day 2017.

With unemployment levels higher than the community would like, the importance of innovative small businesses and the local people behind them has come into focus.

One such person is Daphne Talbert of Sound Business Equipment, who has been running her stationery, arts and crafts shop on Dixon Road for the past 18 years.

She said the game had changed since she started the business almost two decades ago.

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“It is totally, totally different — you really have to work very hard to get your customers,” she said.

“Ten years ago you were ‘it’ in one sense — there was not the online option that a lot of people use now.

“Things have definitely changed in that sense.”

Ms Talbert said small businesses were the lifeblood of the Rockingham and Kwinana communities.

“What we have got above the big boys is our customer service, our prices are good and we do free deliveries, which helps,” she said. “You get better customer services where people are willing to spend the time with customers.

“They are not just a number, they are very important.

“Small businesses have the community in mind.

“If schools or clubs come in that want a donation, you don’t mind giving them something.

“I don’t think they would get that from corporate companies.”

Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tony Solin said the organisation was there to help small businesses.

“RKCC supports all small businesses in our region by advocating for supportive business conditions and promoting the importance of business activity to our community,” he said.

“Our members are assisted with regular beneficial networking opportunities and recognition at our annual business awards.”

City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said small business was a backbone for strategic metropolitan centres like Rockingham.

“We are in a rapid expansion phase, which offers local businesses a unique opportunity to grow,” he said. “The City supports small businesses through a range of initiatives including business development programs through business foundations and the chamber business awards.

“Strategically the City is implementing a range of broad actions adopted by the council under the Economic Development Strategy, which details a number of recommendations for initiatives to add measurable and tangible value to the local economy.”

A City of Kwinana spokesman said small businesses were the beating heart of communities.

“The City of Kwinana has a renewed focus on supporting local business at every opportunity,” he said.

“The City has recently introduced a dedicated economic development function which aims to facilitate business growth in the local community while also working to reduce red tape, provide better services and build strong, ongoing partnerships with local business owners.

“Earlier this year the City also introduced a new small business grants program.”

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