A sample of businesses in Bingara’s main shopping area have all reported a lift in sales during the Bingara Orange Festival.
For some businesses, the exposure received over the weekend will almost certainly result in additional business in the future.
At Upcycled, Debi Bancroft said that although trade on Saturday was “not great”, she made good sales on Sunday. “I enjoyed the Festival very much though,” she said.
David Barnes at the Sportsman’s Hotel described Saturday as “the best day we have had since owning the hotel. We served 190 meals for the day, and the bar was the busiest day,” he said.
Grocery Manager at Bingara IGA, Paul McLachlan, said the festival brought a very big crowd to town, with many people coming into the shop. “There were as many visitors as locals, and the festival has injected life into the town,” he said.
“The only downside, and it is the same every year, is that elderly people, people with ‘big shops’ and people going to Copeton, have trouble getting their purchases to their vehicles because of the street being closed off.”
Although he admits to seeing very little of the outside action, IGA owner, John Bishton, said the festival had been fantastic. “The street looked busier than it has for a few years,” he said.
Due to stock-take, the hardware department did not trade. “I spoke to people in the store who had come from Inverell for the festival, and people came from many other towns as well. The festival has given a buzz to Bingara,” he said.
Across the street, at Y’s Pies, Mick Dekker said trading on Saturday had been “awesome”. “We cooked 436 pies, and when we shut at 6pm, nothing was left, we had sold virtually everything,” Mick said. The people were nice, there were lots of visitors, and it was hard to keep up, but we managed to do it. If every day was as good (as last Saturday), we could all retire quickly!”
At Meat on Maitland, butcher, Damien Galvin explained the week leading up to the Orange Festival is busy, but Saturday is much quieter. “No one can get in for large amounts of meat on weekend, and people don’t want to be walking about with bags of meat,” Damien said.
Early last week, the Meat on Maitland team made 40 kgs of special Orange Festival sausages, using local pork and local oranges. These proved exceptionally popular, selling out quickly.
“The Orange Festival is a good day for the town, and draws great crowd. There were old locals who returned for the weekend, as well as many day visitors.”
Lenore Kennedy, of Dewberry Lane, got into the mood of the 1950s by playing records and decorated her shop in the week leading up to the festival, and on Saturday, friends, Cherisse Amer and Sue Clarke were live models in the window, sipping tea while they modelled some of Lenore’s clothing stock.
Lenore, in conjunction with a vintage clothing business from Bellingen, held a themed fashion parade on the stage on Saturday morning. “Lots of locals came into the shop, I also spoke to visitors from Inverell, Moree Armidale, Gunnedah, Newcastle and Sydney,” Lenore said. The comments on the street I heard were that people were very impressed, and we have received lots of good feedback.”
Real Estate agent, Ann Reardon from JA McGregor Livestock and Property, said people did take real estate brochures. “People were here to enjoy the festival, so I didn’t expect them to be buying property, but you never know,” Ann said.
At the Imperial Hotel, Noelene Ozols said the Orange Festival had been excellent. “There was a nice vibe, and people were happy,” Noelene said. “We were very busy, because of the crowd, meals and drinks took a little longer, but people seemed to expect that, and were happy. A lovely day was had by everybody,” she said.
At the Regent Café, Nicole Weber said the café was busy, but not like it was in the earlier days of the festival. “Years ago, it used to be best day of the year, but now, we only sell about half as much as used to. It’s more like a normal day for us,” she said.
For Mena Sharkey at the Bingara Pharmacy, Saturday was the perfect day. “I had my family here, and they loved it,” he said. Mena reported that he had been busy in the dispensary, while retail assistant Jimara Fernando said there were bouts of activity throughout the morning, with groups of people coming into the pharmacy, mainly to look, although some bought.
Saturday also saw the opening of a new business, Sapphire Salt Cave, owned by Tony Gomez and Sam Bremmel. “We had lots of people through, and feedback has been very enthusiastic,” Sam said. Tony made the shelves, counter, and walls, and is currently working on the actual salt cave. “At times on Saturday, the whole shop was packed, and there were people around for most of the afternoon,” Sam said. “There was a constant flow, good response, and the biggest percentage of visitors were locals.”