Two members of the Coolangatta business community have launched an advertising campaign to encourage Queenslanders to visit the coastal border suburb that’s suffering from the New South Wales lockdown.
Steve Edgar and Sam Beau Patrick created the ‘Essentially Cooly’ marketing campaign after attending a meeting two weeks ago with about 120 other local business owners.
At the meeting, Edgar heard what he describes as “a lot of heartfelt stories” from business owners “desperate to survive” the effects of the NSW lockdown on trade and staffing.
“The feeling in the room was just unbelievable,” Edgar, the general manager of the Coolangatta Surf Club, tells SmartCompany.
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Following the meeting, Edgar and Patrick decided to self-fund a promotional video to attract people from Brisbane, Ipswitch and the Granite Belt, including Toowoomba, to Coolangatta.
“We’re trying to promote the positive vibe and encourage people to come to Cooly,” Edgar says.
Since the video was posted online, the tourism organisation Destination Gold Coast has indicated they will support the campaign.
“But the wheels take a while to turn in these organisations,” Edgar says.
Local businesses hope the campaign will convince members of the Queensland government to visit the suburb to see how the harsh border closure, which separates Coolangatta from the neighbouring Tweed Heads in NSW, is affecting businesses.
Queensland small business minister Di Farmer has said she would visit but is not able to for at least another week.
“We’re continually putting pressure on the state government to come down to Coolangatta and see what’s going on, Edgar says.
Small businesses in Coolangatta are seeking urgent support because the state border closure has taken away a large amount of the local trade they were relying on while international travel has dried up and domestic travel is significantly reduced.
Businesses, including the Coolangatta Surf Club, have been forced to reduce hours due to reduced trade and a staff shortage.
“Some businesses are missing up to 50% of their staff,” Edgar says.
“The lockdown has divided a town because there are people locked away from their families and businesses.”