Jess and Tyson Phillips at Choux Choux Patisserie in Bangalow.
Jess and Tyson Phillips at Choux Choux Patisserie in Bangalow.

This small business will help you to access essentials

THERE'S a double benefit to a new approach Bangalow's Choux Choux Pattiserie is taking.

Owners Jess and Tyson Phillips saw sales drop by a third in just one day, but they've also been troubled by panic-buying resulting in some basic food items becoming hard to come by in big supermarkets amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

They're addressing the slower-than-usual trade and the difficulty in accessing certain food items by selling spare ingredients to the public.

This includes regular and gluten free flour, rice, oats, eggs, sugar, butter, yeast, salt and pasta.

"We just basically saw the shortages and thought about people that are actually really struggling to get really basic things," Ms Phillips said.
"And it's a really worrying time for them so we thought you know what, we have those products here, why wouldn't we supply them."

She said they bought the products at wholesale prices and only marked them up enough to help cover their operating costs.

"People are inflating the prices just because it's hard to find and I think as a community you just need to come together and band together rather than fight each other," she said.

"It's just one of those times when you've got to think about each other."

A post to a Facebook community group has received a big response and people were already visiting the store for goods on Wednesday.

"We've already sold quite a few bags of flour," she said.

With travel bans now in place and two-week quarantine periods for anyone entering the country, it's unclear how severe the impact will be on the Byron Shire's largely tourism-driven economy.

"Sales in just one day reduced by one third," Ms Phillips said.

"That's a very dramatic decrease for us."

But changes like this could help small businesses to be a bit more resilient throughout what's to come, she said.

"We hope that everyone will just shop locally a little bit more than going to the big guys because they're not going to be bankrupt out of it but a lot of small businesses around here, everyone's going to have to close their doors eventually, we think," she said.

"They're the ones that are going to really suffer out of this."

The Phillips have meanwhile kept their two daughters home from school, although the COVID-19 pandemic has not, at this stage, led to widespread school closures in Australia.

"Our daughter is in a high risk category so we can't risk her getting sick, we can't risk our older daughter coming home (with an infection)," she said.

"We've made that decision because we do have the option to keep her home."

Choux Choux Pattiserie is located at 12 Byron St, Bangalow.