FOR many years, the ever-increasing topic of conversation in Home Hill amongst both local residents and visitors alike has been the increasing number of empty shops and, more recently, the lack of business premises available to possible operators, even though there seems to be more than adequate space available.
However, in recent weeks, there has been a change in the conversations, as the direction the town has been taking has taken a positive turn, with a number of new businesses taking up some of that vacant space in the Central Business District.
It all started with a letter written by returning businessman, Ron Scott, to the Home Hill News about the difficulties he had in finding a home for the business he wanted to open.
That came at the same time as former Home Hill businessman, Ross Tapiolas moved his business, My Pets, to Ayr because he could not find a suitable premises in the Home Hill CBD.
The Home Hill Chamber of Commerce followed up with a public meeting to discuss the direction the town should take to try to counter the actions of absent landlords, who make it difficult for prospective new business operations to open up in the town.
However, the outlook for Home Hill seems to be changing as new business operators come to town and start taking up what space they can for new outlets.
One of the first was Peter Caesar and his wife, who sold a motel on the Sunshine Coast for health reasons and decided to move north, eventually settling in Home Hill where they purchased the Nicko’s takeaway business in the town.
They did not stop there as they expanded by adding a sit-down open air area on the adjacent block, where customers could enjoy their food purchases, while also adding an ice machine, garage, fencing, storage containers and freezers and also expanding his products to introduce Chinese food to the menu.
Peter did not stop with the takeaway business, as he recently leased a shop across the road to install a Laundrette, with professional equipment im- ported from the United States to serve both the town’s residents and the many visitors who stopped in town.
That new business includes 9kg, 12kg and 16kg and 18kg washing machines, which can be used at a cost of $6 to $12 each or the four dryers, which cost one dollar ($1) for six minutes and is open 4am to 8pm.
The machines are installed in such a way that they will not be affected by flooding in the town. Peter said he liked living in Home Hill and described business as “good”, with excellent support from the local community.