By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Springvale’s shopping centre has slowed to a trickle after weeks of panic-buying frenzy – and this is the time when traders need our support for the long haul.
As part of Star News’s ‘Shop Local’ campaign, we are urging shoppers to get behind local traders in Springvale as well as Dandenong, Noble Park, Doveton and Endeavour Hills.
In recent times, butchers, grocers, fishmongers, pharmacies, bakeries and Chinese medicine outlets had been flooded by buyers stocking up for the escalating coronavirus pandemic, says Springvale Asian Business Association president Daniel Cheng.
Those same outlets are still selling the essentials – but with few customers in line, Mr Cheng says. He estimates trade has plunged about 70 per cent.
“This is the time they need your support.
“At the local grocer, they keep their stock fresh and top-quality and don’t want to throw it out. If you think about it, now you can pick up things at a bargain price.
“Keep your visits short – just think carefully about you want to buy before you go in. It should take no more than 10 minutes – there’s no one in the queue.”
Chinese medicine outlets remain popular as buyers go for immunity-builders like ginseng, jin chong cau as well as cough suppressants, Mr Cheng said.
Meanwhile, some eateries such as the popular Gold Leaf restaurant have closed due to Covid-19 bans on dining-in.
Other outlets such as Andy Wong, of Cha HErE bubble-tea shop, were repurposing to take-aways or deliveries only.
Mr Wong is also creatively branching into a side-trade of surgical, cloth face masks – an item in hot demand throughout the world.
His first order of the US Food and Drug Administration-certified masks has arrived, with a second, third and fourth lot on the way.
“There’s not much we can do so I change my business direction.
“No one knows when this will end. I hope it ends by the end of winter.”
The ‘Shop Local’ campaign will run across Star’s numerous publications as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage all kinds of industry.
Star News Group managing director Paul Thomas said the campaign was aimed at trying to help local businesses stay afloat.
“We are encouraging local people to buy locally and provide as many struggling businesses as possible the opportunity to get their messages out that they are still open for business or to let readers know about their changed operating methods,” Mr Thomas said.
“Everyone has been impacted by this crisis and we can only try to reduce that impact as much as possible – our own business has had a significant detrimental impact.
“Please shop locally, help an impacted business and keep as many people employed as we can.”