Chamber breakfast had revitalisation on the menu


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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BUSINESS BRAINS: Kym Rowley, Cheryl Wellham, Michaela Newton and Phoebe Kitto at the Douglas Chamber of Commerce breakfast. Image: Howard Salkow.
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Get out the paint brushes. It’s time to spruce up and revitalise Macrossan Street and transform its tired and shabby appearance.

This much was one of the more candid messages to emerge from a Douglas Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting at the Tin Shed today which was highlighted by a panel of four speakers representing different industries and addressing the issue of resilience.

The panel – Kym Rowley (Tin Shed), Cheryl Wellham (Exemplar Coaches and Limousines), Michaela Newton (Restaurant Manager) and Phoebe Kitto (HR Dynamics) – tackled how to deal with the ‘down period’ in the town; being flexible within the workplace; managing cash flow during the slow times; collaborating with other businesses; and seeking help or a mentor based on circumstances.

With all signs pointing to the proposed Marina re-development proceeding – Crystalbrook Collection is expected to submit its revised Development Application within the next few weeks – Ms Newton said now is the time to bring Macrossan Street back to life.

“We are positive, resilient people. The town looks shabby, let’s give it some new blood, let’s get out the paint brushes and give it a vibrant look,” she said.

And although few disagreed with the need to ‘bring Macrossan Street back to life’, the panel agreed with the notion to address their respective needs from a business point of view when times were slow.

“Collaborating with other businesses is something I would encourage businesses to do. It’s important to think positively, talk to people and look at staffing costs from a HR point of view. You also have to be creative and this could involve having staff taking vacation time,” said Ms Kitto.

Ms Wellham, who has served on numerous boards and works closely with the TPDD and TTNQ, said companies need to look after themselves.

“If they need help or a mentor, then they should seek out that advice. We need to reach out for help if it is needed,” she said.

Ms Newton said it is unfair to blame Council or TPDD for the quiet months. “We need to prepare for that period. We know they are coming and this is when we should all be looking out for each other.”

Local lawyer Martin Tranter, who served as the facilitator, aptly summed up the way forward to the large audience by suggesting being bold, positive, strategic, collegial and not beating up on ourselves.

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