Under her mask, owner and manager of Purple Haze Espresso Bar Leisa Connolly smiles appreciatively as she passes two coffees to one of her customers.
She doesn’t deny times are tough. But like many other business owners across the Clarence Valley, she remains upbeat and focused on the future, while temporarily adapting her livelihood to adhere to current restrictions. And she is especially grateful to the local community for their ongoing support. One of Grafton’s favourite eateries, Purple Haze Espresso Bar remains open for takeaway which is served through a nifty Covid-19 safe window Ms Connolly had installed last year.
Several of her regular customers are continuing to return, including Sharon Montey.
“I usually get coffee here a few times a week, and it’s really good to be able to support a local business,” she said.
“It’s a tough time for all of them.”
After thanking Ms Montey for her purchase, Ms Connolly acknowledged her other regular customers for their continuous support, and said she is doing her best to remain positive.
“Since the lockdown began, it has been completely different,” Ms Connolly said of her business.
“There are only two of us in the shop at the same time.
“I try and share hours around for my staff, and they’ve been great.
“It was disappointing when the lockdown was extended, but I really am thankful to my loyal and regular customers who continue to support me and my business so we can stay open.
“We’ve just got to keep our heads up and keep pushing through.” President of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce Carol Pachos, said it is incredibly important the community supports local businesses, especially during lockdown, and she is encouraging people to shop locally wherever possible.
“By spending your money locally, you’re helping local businesses to stay open, you’re keeping locals employed, and you’re boosting the local economy,” she said.
“Shopping locally also minimises travel between communities, which helps to keep everyone safe.
“It’s really important that we all do what we can to help and support each other and the business our communities depend on.”
Myles Light, owner and manager of Clarenza based business Clarence Earthmoving, is especially grateful to the local community for their unwavering support, and he and his family are always happy to support local businesses in return. The family recently ordered takeaway from the Australian Hotel in South Grafton, with Mr Light emphasising as a local business owner, he is happy to spend a bit extra to help others in the region.
“You’ve got to support the locals where you can,” he said.