'We're better than ever'
KINGSCLIFF retailers are urging residents to support local traders, with many failing to enjoy the expected boom after the reopening of the new caravan park.
After a difficult few years, including the creation of the one-way street, closure of the bridge and the redevelopment of the caravan park and foreshore which reopened at Easter, retailers were looking forward to booming trade.
But despite the warm weather and packed cafes, many business owners have been left disappointed.
"Please come back,” said Cave Kingscliff owner Bridgette Pinnock, who first opened her men's clothing store five years ago.
"It's been really tough but the development is finished and there are a lot of positives in town now. We just need people to support us to help us get back on our feet.”
Further down Marine Parade, owner of Cinemax complex Stephen Buge said while trade had improved on last year, it remained below average.
Mr Buge said while his local customers had never left, it was fewer visitors from the caravan park - which despite redevelopment offers less capacity - which really impacted his business.
"I hope the worst is behind us, I really hope so,” Mr Buge said.
"They've done a great job with the caravan park ... but I haven't got my business back. So far we are still 20 per cent down - it was down 40 per cent last year when the caravan park closed.”
Beach Shack owner Josie Masterman, who has operated her ice cream and drinks business for eight years, said with the glorious weather of late, she had hoped for higher numbers.
"It has been especially slow which really surprises me because the weather has been so nice,” she said.
"But the future is looking bright, we just have to let everybody know to come back.”
Kingscliff and District Chamber of Commerce president Mark Humphries said trading conditions were the best they had been for years.
"I was with the unit co-ordinator of the holiday park last week and he said bookings had exceeded expectations,” he said.
"They are trading exceptionally well and are well above budget. If they are pumping people into town, I can tell you the cafes are trading exceptionally well. I could name three that are trading well above last year.
"For winter, we have had exceptional weather, we have a holiday park open, a bridge open, economically conditions have been the best we've had for probably the last three years in Kingscliff and with the announcement of the new hospital site, we can't do much more economically other than get on with it.”
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