Essential Ingredient owner Barry Young says Border closure hurting business

Businesses just 'collateral damage' in bid to protect Sydney

Businesses on the border have become collateral damage in the NSW government's attempt to protect Sydney from COVID-19, a business owner says.

Essential Ingredient owner Barry Young, who is also deputy chair of Albury Northside Chamber of Commerce, said business owners were frustrated because the government clearly did not understand how the Border community worked.

"Most people found the first round of closures, while difficult, they could deal with it because the size of the bubble," he said.

"It's hard to find any reasoning behind the tightening when no cases presented. [There's] no other reason behind the tightening of restrictions, to my mind, other than providing an extra layer of protection to Sydney.

"The regions are suffering because the focus seems to be very Sydneycentric ... We're collateral damage."

Mr Young said his revenue had dropped between 30 and 40 per cent as a result of the latest border restrictions. And he's not alone.

"It's evident across the board," he said.

"Things had improved through May and June and the first half of this month, but since the closure it's dropped off a cliff."

STOCKED UP: Essential Ingredients owner Barry Young said the border bubble has cut off 50 per cent of his market. He said businesses are hurting. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

STOCKED UP: Essential Ingredients owner Barry Young said the border bubble has cut off 50 per cent of his market. He said businesses are hurting. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Mr Young said although he was based in Albury, his business was designed to serve the entire North East and Southern Riverina region.

"We rely on [shoppers from] Wodonga but also the North East, we get a lot of people from places like Beechworth, Yackandandah, Bright, Benalla.

"Effectively 50 per cent of the market has been lost to us."

Mr Young said the next month or so of drastically reduce revenue, would be especially painful for border businesses who had invested in stock before the border closure.

He said many would experience a cashflow crunch.

"Our hands are tied," Mr Young said.

"People say you've got to innovate and pivot but for months we've been trying to do that. Once you remove half of your market it becomes really difficult.

"The thing that compounds it is that because we had reasonably good months we were clawing our way back since the initial closure and invested in stock.

"We built to [stock levels] so we could confidently go forward."

This story Businesses just 'collateral damage' in bid to protect Sydney first appeared on The Border Mail.