Cyril Peet, RCAT vice-president
Cyril Peet, RCAT vice-president

Business leader’s concerns over limited shopping options in Roma

With Roma businesses shut over the Christmas period and staff taking a well-deserved break, one prominent business leader has been reminded of the limited shopping options available in town.

Roma Commerce and Tourism (RCAT) vice-president Cyril Peet, who owns Roma Pet World, said many of the town’s shops are staying closed between Christmas and some will remain so after New Year.

While the streets of Roma were quiet during Boxing Day, shops in the cities were reeling in thousands of customers from post-Christmas sales.

Only some businesses opened on December 26, including the Royal on Ninety-Nine, Repco, McDonalds, Woolworths, and Mr Peet’s pet shop, among just a couple of others.

And this reminded him of the consequences of any vital stores closing due to a potential downturn or COVID outbreak.

Because of the size of Roma and the availability of shops, Mr Peet said residents will have to turn to online shopping or other towns if these stores became temporarily unavailable.

“If [a COVID case had] been to Woolies, if they’ve been to the cafe, within five minutes it’ll be shut down, and we can’t afford to do that,” he said.

Roma residents would have to shop in another town located hours away, or buy online.

This would mean money not circulating into local businesses, putting even more pressure on them.

Mr Peet said the solution to diversifying the local market is to grow the town, so Roma becomes a more attractive place to bigger businesses.

“A solution to a lot of our problems in town is more people, double the population,” he said.

But for that to happen, there needs to be more jobs in town, especially in manufacturing.

He said it will be a struggle to convince people with ‘niche skills’ to come to the area and bring their families along too.

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