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2019 Year in Review – Business

Amy McPhillips 17 December 2019

In 2019, The RiotACT‘s business articles showcased a range of local success stories. We reported on new initiatives in the business sector and farewelled some enduring Canberra institutions as they closed their doors, with all of our top three business stories featuring long-lived and well-known ACT businesses as they said goodbye.

10. A man of influence, generosity and compassion: Peter Munday

Peter Munday. Photo: Supplied.

Peter Munday has learned much about life through experience and hard work. Photo: Supplied.

Peter Munday left school aged 14 when he was asked to leave Marist College. In Peter’s own words, he lacked focus and had trouble concentrating and connecting with the education system. He was also bullied because he struggled with the basics. But Tim Gavel’s story highlighted how life experience and hard work paid off for the influential Canberran.

9. Tech-driven rebrand launches Independent into the future of property

Independents new brand logo. Photos: George Tsotsos.

Independent’s new brand logo. Photo: George Tsotsos.

During 2019, major ACT real estate company Independent Property Group revolutionised its business with a new name and a technology-driven overhaul to enable it to be more responsive to customers and allow its agents to focus on more personalised service. Ian Bushnell wrote that the move saw the company become known simply as Independent.

8. How Gerry Harvey, Brumbies enforce Corkhill’s success

Matthew Corkhill

Matthew Corkhill. Photos: Supplied.

In September John Thistleton headed to the village of Boorowa to report that Corkhill’s Engineering had won a substantial contract to supply Harvey Norman with steel-framed glass screens for shop fit-outs. He reported that it was another example of ingenuity from a workshop that had put Boorowa, northwest of Canberra, on the map.

7. Canberra Times offloaded by Nine in $125m deal

The Canberra Times

The Canberra Times will change hands once again. Photo: George Tsotsos.

In April, Genevieve Jacobs reported that The Canberra Times was set to change hands once again after being sold off as part of the Nine/Fairfax media merger. Former Domain real estate boss Antony Catalano and Thorney Investments were part of a company that paid $115 million for the Australian Community Media and Printing group.

6. Roll the credits: Canberra’s last video rental store to shut its doors

Josh Mudford

Josh Mudford has owned Network Video Charnwood for the past eight years. Photos: Daniella Jukic, we are found.

Gone are Friday nights spent trawling the aisles of videos looking for a film to watch, because Canberra’s last DVD rental store closed its doors at the end of May. Lachlan Roberts wrote that Network Video Charnwood had been a stalwart in the video rental business until it finally succumbed to the rise of Netflix and online streaming.

5. Club Lime owner Viva Leisure to list on ASX in bid to keep growing

Club Lime Kambah

A Club Lime facility in Kambah. Owner Viva Leisure will use its public listing to continue expanding. Photo: Supplied.

Ian Bushnell’s story about Canberra-based health club operator Viva Leisure Limited, the owner of Club Lime gyms, cracked the top 10. He wrote that the company was seeking to become the only health club group listed on the Australian Securities Exchange after submitting its prospectus and listing application for an Initial Public Offering.

4. Canberra’s oldest surviving businesses still going strong

Melbourne and Sydney Buildings in 1932

The Melbourne and Sydney Buildings in 1932. By this stage, Canberra’s oldest businesses were nearly a decade old. Photo: Supplied.

The call went out and the people replied, wrote Karyn Starmer. The Canberra Business Chamber has found the oldest businesses in Canberra, some 90 years old, putting them among the oldest businesses in the country. Read the recap of some remarkable businesses and their stories.

3. Lights out soon for iconic Fyshwick business

Southside Lighting's Dennis Barnes

Southside Lighting’s Dennis Barnes: “It’s been a great journey.” Photo: George Tsotsos.

When Dennis Barnes flicked the switch for the last time at Fyshwick’s Southside Lighting, it was the end of a Canberra institution and one of the capital’s great business stories, wrote Ian Bushnell.  The store stood at the corner of Canberra Avenue and Lithgow Street for 36 years, after Dennis moved across from Southlands, where he had ‘stuck his neck out’ to buy Cochrane’s Electrical in 1975 when he was 28.

2. Canberra Centre closes its doors on fair trade shops

Oxfam shopfront in the Canberra Centre

Oxfam’s Canberra Centre shop closed in February. Photo: File.

In February, Emma Davidson wrote that several familiar businesses had departed the Canberra Centre, with the Oxfam shop set to follow. The move meant that there will no longer be any shop in the Canberra Centre where all products are fair trade, for the first time in decades.

1. Canberra couple exit their world-class software start-up of 28 years

Michelle Melbourne and Phillip Williamson

Michelle Melbourne and Phillip Williamson. Photo: Supplied.

The number one business story on The RiotACT this year was John Thistleton’s story about Canberra start-up Intelledox. Michelle Melbourne and Phillip Williamson created a software platform now used every minute of the day around the world. But after several successful decades in business, the duo sold Intelledox to Smart Communications, the leading global cloud-based platform for enterprise customer communications.

Join us tomorrow for a look back at the top news articles on RiotACT in 2019.


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