Small business minister urges Mandurah residents to buy local

WA small business minister Paul Papalia pictured with WA Labor candidate for Dawesville Lisa Munday and Lazy Jane's cafe owner Jonna Benton. Photo: Justin Rake.
WA small business minister Paul Papalia pictured with WA Labor candidate for Dawesville Lisa Munday and Lazy Jane's cafe owner Jonna Benton. Photo: Justin Rake.

Supporting local businesses should be at the forefront of Mandurah shoppers' minds when buying Christmas gifts this year, with many doing it tougher this year than ever before.

That's the message from WA small business minister Paul Papalia, who visited a string of shops during a visit to Falcon yesterday.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit small businesses in many different forms.

Cancelled events that would have brought much-needed foot traffic, a severe lack of staff and a complete halt on interstate and international tourists are just some of the hurdles local shops and services have faced in 2020.

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Like many hospitality hot spots, Falcon cafe Lazy Jane's is one business that faced those challenges.

"We put off staff initially," cafe owner Jonna Benton said.

"We changed our menu up and started delivery as well. Obviously it was tough early on."

But as COVID-19 restrictions began to ease, life began to return to the bustling coffee shop.

Now, some seven months on from the height of the pandemic, Lazy Jane's has welcomed back the bulk of its workforce and is "busier than ever."

"We're really starting to bounce back now, and it's just nice to be mostly returned to something normal," Ms Benton said.

"We've got so many new regulars. The community seems really keen to show their support."

That surge in locals supporting home-grown business is something Mr Papalia is keen to see continue through the festive season.

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During his visit to Falcon the minister spoke of the sacrifices those businesses have had to make this year, and highlighted how far local purchases would go for them this Christmas.

"It's obviously been a very tough year," he said.

"But there is a genuine desire in the community to help each other - it's something that has been clearly evident throughout the COVID crisis.

"They know that one of the ways they can help is shop local, shop small and support their local players."

Part of Mr Papalia's visit included promoting the #mysmallpledge campaign, which asks Western Australians to commit to shopping local.

This Saturday will mark Small Business Day in WA, which he said was the perfect opportunity to show that support.

"I encourage all Western Australians to make a small pledge to support their local small businesses in the lead-up to Christmas and beyond," he said.