‘Confident’ town open for business: Narooma Chamber looks to 2019

Far from the sleepy, seaside town it once was, Narooma is gearing up for a busy summer holiday season and beyond, with businesses saying the town’s economy is booming.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The Narooma Chamber of Commerce is looking ahead to a busy summer season after an exciting 2018. Pictured, Michael Gardner, Adrian Fisse, Von Hutcheson and outgoing president Niels Bendixsen

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The Narooma Chamber of Commerce is looking ahead to a busy summer season after an exciting 2018. Pictured, Michael Gardner, Adrian Fisse, Von Hutcheson and outgoing president Niels Bendixsen

The Narooma Chamber of Commerce is preparing for the busy times ahead and is on the hunt for a new president to take the helm for the coming year.

Outgoing president Niels Bendixsen said it was an exciting time for Narooma’s economy, with plenty of investment in the town a sign of confidence in the region.

“In Narooma, the Chamber of Commerce is involved in the bigger picture – it’s really about a long-term  investment in Narooma and promoting the region,” Mr Bendixsen said.

“There’s a lot of buoyancy – there’s a not a lot of empty shops around, which is quite common in rural areas and there’s a feeling of strong activity and that is really promising.

“Heading into the busy summer period, in general, the feeling over the past 12 months is that we’re in a good position.”

Narooma newcomer and the chamber’s outgoing vice president, Adrian Fisse, encouraged small business owners in particular to step into the leadership role. 

Mr Fisse said the association helped him transition to the town after moving from Melbourne five years ago.

“Instantly I felt I was exposed to business professionals in all sorts of industries. It’s been invaluable,” Mr Fisse said.

“Being in the chamber has given us a level of exposure as a business that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

“If there wasn’t a chamber, we wouldn’t see the types of initiatives like the Business Awards and the Oyster Festival, that introduce all sorts of camaraderie and connections.”

Cath Peachey, of the Narooma Oyster Festival, said there was plenty of positive activity about the town.

Ms Peachey said the festival, which was a key initiative of the chamber, was a significant annual contributor to the economy, attracting more than $700,000 to the town over one weekend.

“It was a great success … particularly from a destination marketing and positioning perspective,” Ms Peachey said.

“The plan was to create awareness of the region in terms of the premium quality produce that’s available and to work with industry influencers to create demand.”

She said the event attracted some of the biggest names in the Australia food industry and garnered international media attention.

The decision of the National Australia Bank to reverse its planned closure of its Narooma branch was celebrated as an economic win for the town this year.

After a fierce protest from the community, NAB announced the branch would remain open for an additional two years.

An NAB community working group hopes to work with the bank’s regional executive to determine opportunities for the branch beyond 2020.

The redevelopment of the Narooma Plaza is a sign of business confidence and investment in the town, and is set to create further job and business opportunities.

Centre spokesperson Dan Greenlees said construction was now underway.

“We’re moving full-steam ahead – we’re hoping to have Woolies trading in the new store before Christmas 2019, with Aldi and the remaining specialties expected to open by mid-2020,” Mr Greenlees said.

“It’s a sign of things progressing and future growth to come.”

Narooma Chamber seeks new president

The Narooma Chamber of Commerce is on the hunt for a new president to lead the association over the coming year.

The chamber will host an AGM on Tuesday, December 11, at Club Narooma, from 7pm.

Outgoing president Niels Bendixsen said the new president would be the chamber’s spokesperson in the region and would help driving business activity in the town.

“We’re looking for someone to be our representative in the region as a chamber leader,” he said.

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