A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

The important role of small business retail front line team members during the Covid lockdown

Thanks to a failure in hotel quarantine in South Australia, a failure of the federal government in terms of quarantine and a failure of the federal government on the Covid vaccine roll out, Victoria is in the middle of a 7-day lockdown, to try and suppress transmission of a particularly virulent strain of Covid.

Okay, blaming aside, this lockdown has shown, again, the important role small business retail front line team members play in our communities. This is especially true in newsagencies.

For people living alone or caring for someone at home, the interaction at the counter is important. Over the last few days there have been several examples I have witnessed of this, where shoppers talk for a bit longer, soaking up the interaction. Our shops are hubs for this warmth.

Good retail team members spot the need and provide interaction that is encouraging and helps the customers feel better than when they arrived.

What’s been happening in newsagencies in Victoria over the last few days is a reminder of the importance of local small business retail in communities, the role we play, the support we provide.

I am writing about local small business retail as it is in that setting that shoppers are more likely to have a personal and nurturing experience. Our local small businesses are less focussed on KPIs, interactions are more authentic than the corporate national retailer dictate of the five rules of every customer contact or whatever corporate rules the staff are told they must follow.

The warmth and genuineness of the interaction in a local high street newsagency setting is helping plenty of Victorians through this latest lockdown. Our channel can be proud of the role we play on the front line, the role we play in the mental health of so many who visit our shops.

If only politicians would take a moment to see first-hand the role local small business retail plays in the community in situations like this. There are retailers in our channel who do more good in a week of customer interactions than a year of words press releases, announcements and doorstops from any politician, especially federal politicians who love a big announcement but fail at the action.

Kudos to all newsagents in Victoria who have been open through the lockdown and who have provided extra care at the counter to customers keen for personal contact and support.

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  1. Graeme Day

    More like the individuals failure NOT to be vaccinated .
    You can drive the horse to water but can’t make it drink.
    Victoria has proven to be the abject failure in controlling COVID. this has nothing to do with needles it’s lack of leadership and lack of voluntary behaviour because of the effect of this leadership Victorians are sick of the apolgetic style and the dictorial Government.
    bias against the Federal Government when they don’t have the control over the State doesn’t wash.
    Complacency from the people ruled the reason for latest break out. Nothing nmore than that. How many readers have had their Jab? I wonder. It’s human nature to not do anthing complulsory until the danger belongs to them.

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  2. Amanda

    Well said Mark.

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  3. Jim

    I feel for Victorians having to go through their 4th lockdown. Its little wonder so many are hitting the highways permanently. My kids school in regional Qld has been flooded with Victorians the past 12 months.

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  4. Mark Richardson

    Spot on Graeme , as of yesterday there was something like 2,000,000 doses of covid vaccine in storage held by the states . People have been reluctant to get the jab , now there is an outbreak everyone wants the jab.

    As for the origin of the out break i seem to remember a Victorian person causing a covid outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney.

    Victoria’s Covid management has been appalling with the State now recording 200 days in lock down just unbelievable really . Their QR code check in has been a mess and to continually lock down the whole state when the out break has been predominately in Melbourne indicates a Andrews Government who is lazy and clueless .

    I feel for those fellow small business owners and employees who have had to endure this nightmare

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  5. Peter R

    Graeme you wouldn’t be indulging in politics here with your comments on Victoria by any chance. This something you have publicly rebuked others for doing here.

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  6. Mark Fletcher

    Untrue Mark. The vaccine roll out is a federally run and managed program. The states have been hamstrung by poor federal IT, logistics and focus. Now, in federal aged care, where the feds have even more control, it is a messes we have discovered today.

    But, this is all way off topic.

    On topic is the good Covid newsagents have had, and the embrace of community they have led, as I write about in this post.

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  7. Graeme Day

    Pter R I took the risk of fact versus political bias when answering this post.
    No it’ not political, just fact I have no bias here S.A.QLD and W.A are Labor States and have handled COVID very well as NSW has and is Liberal and also Tasmania has handled it well.
    No Peter it was sheer bad management in Victoria and if it was Lib Govt in control I would say the same.
    Personally I don’t hold much confidence in polititians for all of them conduct an “advanced auction of stolen goods” namely ours to give to someone else just to be re-elected.
    For the record I like Hawke and I thought Caldwell had great intellence and foresight I thought Fraser was inefectual Howard good and best for the era McMahon not intouch -Rudd over the top Whitlam living in fools paradise -Lovely fellow had breakfast with him -and family members worked for him.
    Gorton- smart a visionary but didn’t get the politcal party politics -a great Austraian
    Other than than this Gilliard was never given a fair go although I liked her “straightforwardedeness”
    I would like to think comments are objective. for business has no place in aleiniating people in the market place. Voting and such is a private matter.
    Newsagents as Mark states have opened(some made some money others didn’t) however they are do the community as you are -proud.
    Let’s get on with business as the Counrt -the Lucky Country is running out of luck by being selfish and not taking some individual responsibility. Were a mask if you feel risk but don’t blame someone if you don’;t Get ba needle but don’t blame others if you catch the virus.
    It’s here to stay – I have had my first jab and the next is in a Month My ife had hers and had terrible reaction but knows the altenative could be worse.
    Let’s move on and leave plticas out of it. Management is what coiunts.

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  8. Mark Fletcher

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  9. Mark Fletcher

    It’s okay to say Let’s move on and leave politics out of it. after a long comment full of politics.

    Australia’s national response to Covid, from the outset, was poor, very poor, right from the ignoring of responsibilities of quarantine.

    Had we, from the outset, used pandemic designed and managed quarantine, billions of dollars of kick-oin impact could have been avoided, and, the states would not have been handed obligations that were new to them.

    Unfortunately, the federal failure of leadership is on show, again, in the failing vaccine roll out.

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