Mum wants more Warwick shops to click online for Christmas
A TIDE of frantic shoppers have descended on Warwick in a dash for last-minute gifts but the hustle and bustle of Rose City Shoppingworld is out of reach for some.
Online shopping is becoming an increasingly popular way of buying gifts and for mother-of-five Tianny Bell it's a necessity.
Living with epilepsy means Mrs Bell cannot drive and is forced to rely on the internet when the time comes to fill stockings.
Despite her limitations, the Warwick woman is determined to shop local and support family businesses.
Handmade candles, jewellery and toys made by small-scale online retailers are unique items that might appear under the Christmas tree in Mrs Bell's household.
"There is definitely a misconception that when you're shopping online it's coming from overseas," she said.
A Facebook group of stay-at-home mothers who run online businesses from home keeps Mrs Bell connected.
Having dabbled in online retail herself, she's passionate about supporting these enterprises.
"For parents, it means you're with your kids and you don't have to miss seeing them grow up."
Groovy Babies and Kidz Itemz owner and businessman Daniel Williams relies on the internet for 95 per cent of his business and encouraged Warwick buyers to consider shopping locally online.
With a reach of more than 92,500 on Facebook, Mr Williams has been able to expand his customer base through the internet.
But with Christmas sales noticeably down on previous years, Mr Williams is feeling the same pressure that drought has put on many shop-front businesses in Warwick.
"Sales have been down and I don't know if that has been to do with competition, political factors or weather events happening around the place," he said.
Warwick gift shop owner Lynn Bryson agreed.
"It has been a bit of a tough year," Mrs Bryson agreed.
"Drought affects our farmers and people on the land but it affects our city as well."
She urged shoppers to support long-standing businesses that had been in town for many years.
"We employ their children after school so if they don't support those businesses, their kids don't have a place to work," she said.
Keen to put spend her dollars into the local economy, Mrs Bell hoped to see more Warwick businesses offer their products and services online.
"For some people online shopping is a necessity," she said.
"Living 20 minutes out of town and not being able to drive means I rely on the internet.
"It is the way of life now everyone is doing it so don't be behind. "You have to catch up or you will be left behind."
Emporium Lane owner Deb Rhodes is excitedly preparing to expand her business online after relocating to a new shop on Palmerin St.
She said Christmas was a busy period that attracted a mixture of Warwick residents and out-of-town visitors to her store.
"I would definitely encourage people to shop local, we have a good selection of shops and businesses in town to chose from," she said.
"I just had a lady from Brisbane walk in and she said she didn't expect to see a shop like this in Warwick.
"We do get a lot of customers from out of town who all say they love to shop here and the ease of shopping here which is really good feedback."