An Orange cafe owner has revealed the closure of Myer in Summer Street has had a ‘huge impact’ on his business.
Cheeky Barista Cafe owner Rodney Soo said the stream of people from out of town coming to Orange to shop at Myer and then come to his cafe had dried up.
“People from Parkes, Forbes, Cowra, they used to come here a lot,” he said.
“They used to make it a big event, they’d come to Orange.
“[They’d say] we’re going to Myer, we’re going to this [other stores and cafes], but now we don’t see them.
“Most of them were like me, 50 and above who were used to Myer.”
Mr Soo said when coupled with competition from other cafes in Orange and more online shopping, the loss of Myer was damaging his business.
He said customers were going elsewhere for Christmas shopping.
“In the last few weeks the majority of my customers were saying ‘we’re not shopping in Orange’,” he said.
“They are shopping in Bathurst and Dubbo.”
Orange business chamber president Ash Brown said that while Myer’s closure had affected sales he expected stronger trade from Orange residents would compensate for the downturn in out-of-town customers.
“You can’t deny Myer has impacted on trade in Orange because a lot of people did travel distances to go to Myer,” he said.
“There is no doubt it is effecting trade in that area.
“However, the economy of Orange is quite diverse and strong and hopefully it will pick up the slack.”
It is nearly a year since Myer shut up shop and it is unclear when the new development would open.
Orange City Centre manager Nicole Chapman said an amended development application was now before Orange City Council.
“We are in limbo at the moment,” she said.
“Until we have an approval in the new year we cannot give any more details.”
Mr Soo said he was concerned about how long construction would take to enable the development to open.
“I’m not a mind reader, but you could have seen what was going to happen. You only have to look at the age of that building,” he explained.
Mr Brown said the population of Orange was growing and that should lead to increased demand for shopping in the coming months and years.
“We have many great places to have a coffee and have a wine,” he said.
“The hospitality industry should flourish in the next few years.”