Thursday, July 14, 2016

The changing times.

It has been a sad week for many proud 
South Australians with the announcement 
that Le Cornu is closing its iconic Keswick 
store after first opening in 1861.

I remember visiting the store as a child. It felt like the showroom was the size of my entire neighbourhood. With a creche and ball pit on site, it truly was more than just a furniture store for many Adelaide families.

With the final day of trade expected in the next six months, it's a sad end of an era, and another sign that times are changing.

Business owners across Adelaide, Australia and the world are trying to figure out their place in the new landscape that is dominated by evolving technologies and changing consumer trends.

With disrupter brands like IKEA, Netflix, UBER, and AirBnB competing for our dollars, there is even more pressure to adapt and evolve than ever before. New vocabulary is being added into the dictionary almost daily such as 'geocache', 'smartwatch' and 'tech-savvy'... and many are becoming a part of everyday dialogue.

But the laws of business are like the laws of nature. Change is inevitable. And whilst a mix of global giants have rocked the business landscape, we are seeing a new trend of local emerging businesses pushing through the ranks; the 'little guys' are making their mark - 
in a David vs Goliath battle.

And if it can be done, I strongly believe businesses in SA will be the ones to do it. The environment we have in Adelaide - with a smaller, less transient population - brings out the brightest and most resilient leaders. Over time this has shown to be the best breeding ground possible for entrepreneurs and leaders.

And the proof is in the pudding. Adelaide businesses are making their mark across the country... and the globe.

Foodland at Frewville was recently named the 'best supermarket in the world' when they won the International Retailer of the Year at the International IGA Conference earlier this year. And, the South Australian success story, the Royal Croquet Club is now setting up in cities such as Shandong, China.

If we can find that balance, where innovative companies in Adelaide are having a go, and then are backed by a community that supports them - this is the perfect concoction. This is what being  'South Aussie' is all about.

Times may have changed, but the one thing that hasn't is the need to continue to support local brands. Let's help create the next generation of South Australian success stories and assist them in building a legacy, not just in our state, but also across the globe.

Suzannah Toop

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