FORGET about doom and gloom, Gladstone is showing signs of recovery with major retailers and small businesses opening, creating strong optimism for the future.
In the past week Rivers, Salty’s Pizza Bar and Willy Ed’s music shop have opened in a sign of better things to come for Gladstone businesses.
Other recent openings include a new kebab shop at the Night Owl Centre and Sparkles Car Wash at Stockland.
Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett is optimistic the tough days are over for the region following the wind down of construction on Curtis Island’s $70 billion LNG industry.
“There are positive signs out there for Gladstone,” he said.
“For example, Rivers made the decision to close because they weren’t comfortable with our economy, but now they’re choosing to reinvest … They don’t make those decisions lightly.
“We’ve had some hits to our economy but now it’s turned.”
Meanwhile two of Gladstone’s leading business groups have officially joined forces to support the region’s budding entrepreneurs.
Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Start Up Gladstone signed a Memorandum of Understanding in a milestone moment for the two groups.
GCCI president Carl Carter said the deal would bring stronger mentorship for green businesses and entrepreneurs.
“There is lots happening in the technology space, in particular 3D printing,” he said.
“It really does seem to be the most common thread at the moment for our entrepreneurs.”
Mr Carter said supporting smaller businesses will help Gladstone get out of its economic lull.
“Dare I say it but I think we are starting to see some green shoots appear … There seems to be some pick-up in business confidence,” he said.
“Don’t think you’ll see the same level of these big projects (construction of the three Curtis Island plants) but lots of smaller projects will help get Gladstone back on track.”
The MoU allows the two groups to provide better support for all businesses.