01 March 2011

60% of Ipswich retailers back in business

Dacynta "Flick" Urquart, owner of Suburban Mayhem alternative clothing store in the Ipswich CBD, is pleased her store has been able to reopen after the floods that hit the city in January.

IPSWICH retailers are resolutely fighting back from the flood devastation and are determined to prove the city is back in business.

Mayor Paul Pisasale said 205 businesses were directly affected by the flood and of those 124, or 60 per cent, were now trading.

He said 62 were the process of reopening and the remaining 19 were considering what it would take to reopen.

He said the council had supported the city's flood-hit businesses from the time the floodwaters started receding.

It set up a business recovery centre with staff from all levels of government and the Chamber of Commerce to provide one point of assistance for businesses.

"We have assisted over 200 businesses apply for just over $1 million of State Government funding," Cr Pisasale said.

"We are working with the remaining businesses to help with possible relocation where they are unable to reopen on a flood-affected site.

"A temporary business centre is being established to assist those carrying on business until they are able to move back into their premises."

He said getting the businesses back up and running was very important to the overall economic wellbeing of the city.

"A Shop Ipswich campaign has been launched in partnership with the QT and other Ipswich media creating awareness of the businesses that have reopened and also encouraging residents to shop locally during the rebuilding process," he said.

"Feedback to date has been very positive.

"We're up and running again. The city is going from strength to strength and we're aiming to be even better than before but there's a lot of work to be done."

Dacynta Urquart, who with her partner Mitch Brown owns alternative clothing store Suburban Mayhem, knows what that work involves.

The store in Grande Plaza on the corner of East and Brisbane streets was inundated when the Bremer River peaked.

"We opened about seven months ago and business had been going really well," said Ms Urquhart, who is known as Flick.

"We just did a renovation about four weeks before the floods hit.

"We closed in the front and put in new racks. That all had to be replaced after the floods.

"All up it's going to cost us about $20,000 to rebuild."

"We were lucky it didn't come in that 1.5m extra that we were being warned it could, because it would have gone up to the ceiling.

"In the end it was about hip height."

It took her three-and-a-half weeks to get back in business but said she was luckier than surrounding shops that still hadn't reopened.

"We had a lot of support from the council and we have such sweet neighbours," she said.

"We had great neighbours looking after us. We came in at nine on the Monday morning and people around here were telling us to be prepared because the water was coming up.

"We put things up onto the counter but we were told it would go higher. We sat up one night watching the water coming up from across the road; I couldn't sleep."

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