Chamber calls on local businesses to lend a helping hand


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Chamber of Commerce President Liz Ross has called on businesses in Port Douglas to "open the door to their silos and look outside." Image: Newsport.

The Douglas Chamber of Commerce is calling on business to support business and people need to open the door to their silos and look outside.

Responding to the closure of 2Fish Restaurant, an iconic landmark in the town, and The Coffee Club announcing it’s for sale, Chamber President Liz Ross said 2Fish was a well- respected and valued restaurant in the town.

“I am sorry to hear that it has closed its doors. I had family who worked for 2Fish when it was in Wharf Street. The 2Fish team delivered and were known for their piscatorial delights,” she said.

But Ms Ross said while the Chamber bemoaned the loss of any business in the town, she said it is important to not overlook the tragedy in the Daintree earlier this week.

“I want to mention that as a Chamber we are also affected by the accident in the Daintree and our condolences go out to all family members and we wish the woman in hospital a safe recovery.

“Writing about business closing when someone loses their life while doing something on their bucket list, brings us back to reality that life is full of the unexpected and I hope all members of the Jungle Surfing family are also being helped at this tragic time,” she said.

In terms of finding solutions to the dilemmas faced by all small business, Ms Ross said the answer to this is complex.

“When a business closes due to a poor season or other problems, it is the myriad of issues that wear down the business owner. It is never one thing; it is a whole raft of problems which 2Fish outlined when they confirmed they were closing their doors.

“Lack of staff when several people left to go elsewhere, a poor high season, a number of bad weather events and other things. All of these conditions make it extremely difficult to go on especially when you still have to deal with all the other day-to-day issues, such as, accounts, costs, wages, tax, super etc., which are part of the business.

“But when conditions of poor trade affect these everyday occurrences on top of everything else, it becomes too much,” said Ms Ross.

In their statement, 2Fish said a slow year of trade impacted by extreme weather events and falling trade over peak holiday seasons had placed the business into external administration.

“Unfortunately, 2019 has been a very tough year for 2Fish; beginning with a low season that was worse than years past and weather conditions that prevented the usual Christmas trade,” the owners’ statement said.

Ms Ross said the perception that we can wait for the next big spend in terms of a new resort, etc. has to change.

“We can all contribute. People need to open the door to their silos and look outside. We need business to support business. We need ideas people. As a town Port Douglas supports causes, the little and the big.  

“We need business to be supportive of other businesses in the town and further afield. Port Douglas is not an island,” she said.

Ms Ross said as a chamber we are looking to get support from government, state and regional departments to come up early in the New Year.

“We need business to know that the chamber is supportive and willing to assist small business, but we need business to play their part.

“I am hoping to meet with the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning next week about delivering at an event planned for February/March next year.”

Ms Ross added that business must come to Chamber meetings; or tell us what time is suitable and we will do our best to arrange a meeting. But most of all we need people.

“Barbra Streisand in her song People said: ‘People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world’.”

Meanwhile, The For Sale sign in The Coffee Club’s window highlights its prime location; the availability of a long lease; options for the business name and its awesome lifestyle location. 

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