The main streets of the Sunshine Coast hinterland have transformed from ghost towns to bustling business centres with weekend trade rivalling pre-pandemic levels.
Towns including Maleny, Eumundi and Yandina have proved they are among the region’s most resilient with crowds flocking back in droves to the towns’ cafes, accommodation providers and small businesses.
According to property market insiders the return of tourists has dragged down vacancies of commercial properties throughout the hinterland.
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The latest Herron Todd White property report said the Coast’s picturesque inland suburbs had experienced a boost to tourism during the past three months.
“Retailers in areas such as Maleny, Kenilworth, Eumundi, Cooroy and Yandina have reported very strong Saturday and Sunday trading conditions due to local day trip travellers,” it said.
“As a result, there is limited vacancy in these townships.”
Maleny’s Brouhaha Brewing owner Matt Jancauskas said the brewery was booked out two-weeks in advance, with limited space on weekends for walk-ins.
While overall trade is down due to reduced opening days of Friday to Sunday, Mr Jancauskas said from the moment the brewery doors opened at 11am to when they closed at 5pm, the venue was at its capacity of 90 people.
“From the minute we open the door to the minute we close it’s constantly packed, whereas we used to have ebbs and flows,” he said.
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Ray White Maleny owner and business manager Marcia Smith said commercial vacancies were lower than they were last year, and when a property was available it was snapped up fast.
Ms Smith said a Maple St, Maleny property listed recently had its first offers within 24 hours of it being listed online.
She said the new owners of a Coral St commercial property she sold recently wasted no time in opening up a new cafe.
“Cafes and restaurants were among the hardest hit with COVID, but that hasn’t deterred these guys,” she said.
“It’s good to see because it was a bit upsetting when it first hit and the shops had to close and it was a ghost town.
“The towns are humming again, more than they did before COVID.”
Ms Smith believes the global health pandemic had encouraged people to explore what is in their own backyards and to venture out further than major cities.
She said Maleny was so busy on weekends that locals don’t go into town.
“On weekends the main street of Maleny is like the main street of Brisbane, it’s crazy,” she said.
“If you’re a local in Maleny you don’t go into town on the weekend.”
But Mr Jancauskas said while the streets looked busy, businesses still needed more support.
“As busy as we are, and it’s great we’re definitely one of the lucky ones, businesses are experiencing lost revenue streams from things like weddings,” Mr Jancauskas said.
“Some places are still struggling and there’s a lot of revenue to be made up.
“There’s still of some more hard times to come in the next few months.”