November 6, 2020
Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman was the special guest speaker at a breakfast meeting of the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry held in Kingaroy on Thursday morning.
He was joined by Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig (see separate report) on stage as the pair addressed a crowd of about 80 local businesspeople gathered at Kingaroy Town Hall.
Mr Goodman shared his experiences of building up the Gympie Chamber since he became president, taking the membership from about 30 to 160.
He owns a furniture and homewares business, Bella Casa Gympie, in Mary Street, and has worked to turn it – and Mary Street – into a “destination” for the local community.
This has included lobbying council to have trees lit up at Christmas, organising “Christmas On Mary” and other late-night shopping events, and working to make the Gympie CBD an area of pride for local residents as well as attracting tourists.
But he admitted the journey had not been without criticism.
“If you stick your head above the parapet, you’re going to get whacked a few times,” he said.
This included some well-publicised run-ins with the then-Gympie Regional Council.
When Mr Goodman took over at the Chamber of Commerce he said he decided it should “put a stake in the ground” and become “fiercely independent” to tackle some of the issues in Gympie, which included a low socio-economic status, high unemployment and empty shops.
The Chamber began bringing in specialist speakers from outside the region to talk to local businesspeople – something he encouraged the KCCI to do, too.
These talks aimed to get people “thinking differently, outside the box”.
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