Businesses in Melbourne’s inner city have been hit, with a number of owners complaining and thanking the community

2022-06-27 0 By

The question businesses in Melbourne’s inner north do not want to answer is: how much more economic damage can they take?Peter Kal, owner of Fitzy’s Gym in West Brunswick, decided he didn’t want to know, the Herald Sun reported on Jan. 27.Kal, who has owned Fitzy’s Gym since 1984, told the Leader that customer confidence fell to an “all-time low” during Melbourne’s multiple lockdowns, and again during the “shadow lockdowns” caused by the Omicron strain.”People were scared of Omicron,” Kal says. “About 20 percent of my members never came back.”As the owner of a 2, 000-square-meter gym, Kal was hit harder than most during the lockdown, which was effectively shut down for almost a year.”It cost me a house,” Kal said. “I was on the verge of closing.But what should I do?Fitzy’s Gym is my life.”Kal said the psychological burden caused by the government’s constant rule changes and “iron fist” on gyms was overwhelming.”Families can’t play squash together on a 2,000-square-metre court, but the liquor store is full,” he said.On The other side of Brunswick, where December should have been The best month for pub sales, The Quarry Hotel saw a sharp drop in sales.Steve Kyriacou, of The Sydney Rd Tavern, said: “There was a huge drop in sales in December.Mr Kyriacou says he is optimistic because otherwise there is no way to focus on making the business grow.But staffing and inventory pressures have intensified in the past six weeks.”We lost a couple of great managers who felt the industry had no future,” he says.Mr Kyriacou says The Quarry Hotel is still 30 per cent short of staff staffed by international travellers, and waiting a week to get stock instead of a day has become The norm.”But you have to be optimistic,” he says.Kyriacou says the pub would not have survived without the support of the local community, which kept him going.”Local people are our heroes and saviors,” he said. “The drop in the number of infections gives us hope that” the worst is over.”Gino Nardella, who has owned Designer Eyes in Glenroy for 20 years, says business has started to pick up.Mr Nardella said confidence had not fully returned but there had been a “pick-up” in the past week.But he also said the recovery will depend on the government giving the public confidence.”The dark days have been too long,” Nardella said.Nardella says the local community really wants to support his business.