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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.