In 2017, The RiotACT accelerated its regional business coverage and depth of business news.
Many of the most-read stories of the year focused on business closures, with stories about several iconic Canberra venues that were, sadly, shutting their doors. Canberra said goodbye to Yarralumla Bakery, The Lobby Restaurant, the Burmese Curry House and numerous others. Many said they had been left with little alternative. It’s fitting that Mark Parton’s story urging us to support local businesses is the first story in this year’s top 10.
On a more positive note, also in the top 10 were stories about some innovative, dynamic and successful businesses in the Canberra region that are kicking goals on the local and national stage, including the capital’s first escape room and a supermarket changing the way we shop.
In mid-2016, Mark Parton tipped his hat to everyone running a successful business in Canberra, noting that it’s a tough gig, with many businesses riding very close to the edge of the cliff and too many falling into the abyss. His message – if you have a favourite little local business near you, whatever it may be, please support it. Don’t just expect it to flourish without your love.
Andrew Sykes’ profile of the innovative Barton Grocer and its founder Dom Costanzo had readers wanting more. The supermarket blurs the lines of what people think a supermarket should be, offering all the essentials but turning the shopping experience into something gratifying. The regular trip to the supermarket is fast changing thanks to this forward-thinking business.
In June, Eddie Senatore caught up with the owners of Goodspeed Bicycle Co., a Canberra-based business that has been designing and building bicycles here in the capital. The company is proving that it’s possible to manufacture a bike in Canberra as good as the best in the world, and for a great price too.
Imagine being locked in a dark room with your friends, trying to solve a series of puzzles before time runs out. You have only your combined intuition, creativity and the clues and objects in the room to save you. Welcome to Canberra’s first escape room! Rachel Ziv caught up with the owners, Chris Krajacic and Jesse Mount.
John Thistleton’s news that walkers on Goulburn’s popular new Wollondilly Walking Track will be sitting down to coffee at a new cafe in Gehl’s Garden Centre sooner than expected was greeted with enthusiasm by The RiotACT readers. Owners Sally and Shane Nelson are undertaking improvement work to enhance the nursery which Sally’s father Stan Geale established in the 1960s.
It’s two in a row for John Thistleton. In his second appearance in the top 10 business posts, he profiled Trapper (otherwise known as Keith Woodman), the bloke behind the big bakeries at Braidwood and Goulburn – but who says he has never baked bread in his life.
Rachel Ziv’s profile of local professional services firm Cordelta came in at number four in our top ten. The story noted that the firm had been named in the list of ten best places to work in Australia for two consecutive years and has moved into a trendy new office in Fyshwick to accommodate its expanding team. Ken Gutterson, Cordelta co-founder and Managing Director, attributes its success to a blend of unique philosophies on managing clients and caring for employees and the broader community.
January’s story about the closure of The Lobby restaurant in Parkes engaged The RiotACT readers, with a comment from a former staff member echoing the sentiment of many Canberrans. “It’s very sad. The restaurant was just two years away from turning 50, and it’s seen many significant events in its time – including playing host to hundreds of weddings over the years,” the former staff member said.
Charlotte Harper’s report in February about the closure of much-loved Yarralumla Bakery after 33 years of business left Canberrans saddened at the demise of the family-run operation. In a post on Facebook, the bakery thanked customers and staff past and present for their support over 33 years and announced the closure, attributing it to “the landlord asking for unrealistic rents”.
1. Burmese Curry Place to close at month’s endComing in at number one in the most popular business stories this year is David Tuckwell’s report on yet another business closure, this time, Burmese Curry Place, ending the eight year run of the takeaway powerhouse. The closure owes to an unresolved dispute with the landlord. “It’s heartbreaking to admit and more so to accept that this is real,” said Mehnsaik Chan, a member of the family that owns the Canberra favourite.