Biking, fishing and gardening: the hobbies helping small business

Meet the businesses benefitting from the new ways we are spending time in isolation.

Photo by Brianna Melville

For the most-part, COVID-19 restrictions wreaked havoc on Australia’s economy, but for some small businesses, our new lifestyles have delivered unprecedented support.

Bank West data shows that since being in isolation, West Australians are spending much more money on bikes, gardening supplies and hardware.

Bike shops are topping the sectors, with a 48% increase in turnover.

Co-owner of Kalamunda Cycles Jo Bennet says her small business has been busier than ever since the COVID-19 restrictions started.

“I think, because they have more time, everyone’s out exercising. With the gyms closing, more and more people have actually come in to buy a bike or fix their old bikes, so we’ve seen an increase in sales and of people on bikes.”

The shop has found that adults and teenagers are becoming their most common customers, with mid-range recreational mountain bikes their highest seller.

As Australians spend more time out of work and back to nature, fishing has emerged as another popular activity.

Owner of fishing and tackle distributor, Ozflex Australia, Anthony Dunsire, says despite having a bad month when restrictions were introduced in April, business has improved recently as people take up fishing while they spend time off work.

“So far, we’re up [in sales] on last year for May, so far, so good,” says Mr Dunsire.

“Fishing gear is what’s turning over because everybody can still go fishing, and they are, in droves.”

Brianna Melville
Anthony Dunsire says his fishing equipment is becoming increasingly popular.

For other people, the garden is where they are investing their time and money. Bank West’s data found that spending at nurseries and gardening suppliers has increased by 29% since February.

Western Australians have become avid vegetable growers, stripping Bunnings and garden centres of their seedlings.

Domus Nursery in Hackets Gully manager Colin Groom says native plants like his edible “tuckerbush” have also been selling well.

“It’s going at such a high rate compared to normal.”

He says his business is one of the lucky ones at this time.

“Some industries have done really well out of coronavirus and there are ones that have been smashed, so I’m glad we’re doing well,” he says.

A trip to Bunnings or other hardware stores will also show you that people are finally getting around to doing their DIY’s and home improvements. Spending on hardware is up 22% on February’s figures.

Walker’s Mitre 10 in Kalamunda has seen an enormous increase in customers throughout the isolation period. A spokesperson for the shop says sales have drastically improved since COVID restrictions were introduced.

A silver-lining of COVID-19 is that Western Australians are spending their newfound time being inventive or getting back to nature and exercise, and small businesses are thanking them for it.