Our local community / small business focussed stimulus package suggestion for the federal government

Small business retailers are nimble and able to lift local economies faster than big businesses and certainly better than online businesses.

Here are six tips for politicians on steps they can take, decisions they can make to help lift retail, especially small business retail, as well as those local businesses with which small business retailers can quickly connect.

  1. Local shops refresh grant. Give every local retail business a grant of at least $25,000 with the stipulation that it is spent locally (at least within the state or territory) on capital works for the shop, to improve the shop. It could be for painting, carpentry, electrical, new aircon, new carpeting, staff training or similar. Proof of local spending in the form of an invoice from a local tradesperson or small business company with and ABN and more than a year of trading as recognised by the ATO – to avoid fraud. The management of this should be online with quick approval and payment. Note: the $25,000 is suggested to provide sufficient local economic stimulus.
  2. Local visual merchandising support. Keeping in-store displays can be a challenge for small business retailers. Fund a network of merchandisers to make a 2 hour call weekly on qualified independent small retail businesses, sub $1M retail product turnover (i.e. not including agency), ABN registered, trading for six months or more. With each visit to be about visual refresh of the shop. Cap the campaign at six months and then assess the economic value. Only local merchandisers to be used – i.e. not an overseas agency who hires local contractors.
  3. Local artists grants. Offer cash grants to fund buskers for local high streets, to make shopping locally more entertaining. Make the application easy. Focus on local artists entertaining in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of injecting cash locally as well as fostering the local arts. The application process should be online, approval fast and payment immediate.
  4. Direct all politician electorate spending to be with local small businesses. For printing, subscriptions, gifts, parties, cards, everything for a year purchased through a politician’s electorate to be through a a business in their electorate. Have the results assessed independently. Ensure that spending is fair, too, to benefit a variety of local businesses, and not dolled out as political favours. Shop local, shop small.
  5. Run a national shop small shop local ad campaign. Make it educational, smart, encouraging … guiding Aussies on the value to them from shopping local, shopping small. Help to understand the true value of shopping local, shopping small compared to the alternatives. The ad campaign should run regionally across multiple media platforms, giving preference to locally owned platforms with a track record for not managing their business to minimise tax. Yes, Amex does this. We need a campaign that is not credit card supported.
  6. Establish local currency systems. These work overseas on regional towns where local currency has more value than the national currency. It supports shopping local through a smart value structure. the government role could be on the tech back end to manage the currency – taking away capital cost from local councils. To find out more ab9out this, read up on the Bristol Pound.

This list could be much longer. It is offered here as a start, to get people thinking of practical ways to support shopping small, shopping local.

Corona is challenging the economy. While I am no economist, I suspect that giving money to people likely to spend it quickly and spend it locally would be good for the economy and at a pace that is helpful to overall economic performance.

This is all about boosting local.

newsXpress launches national creative writing competition

Newsagency marketing group newsXpress has launched a national creative writing competition seeking entries of short stories, poems and songs that relate, somehow, in some way, to the Aussie newsagency.

Two cash prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded, one for anyone aged up to and including 17 and the second for anyone aged more than 17.

Writers are invited to submit a short story, first person narrative, song or poem. Each entry is required to in some way reference a newsagency, either a specific business or the type of business generally.

The local newsagency is the quintessential Australian small business, and through Covid the newsagency channel proved it’s value as an essential service to local communities. We wanted to explore a way of celebrating that.

The idea of this competition is to encourage creative writing by Australians, to shine a light on local stories and through these reference in some way the local Aussie newsagency.

newsXpress is a collective of over 200 local family owned and run newsagency businesses across Australia, mainly rural and regional. Most shops in the group have transitioned from the traditional to be modern. newsXpress businesses showcase Australian made products that help Australians express themselves.

To me, this is a perfect newsagency marketing group activity. It is fresh, creative and not tied to shoppers spending money in the business. It fits with my view that sometimes the best way to get from A to B is to head for C. I like it too because there is no supplier connection, no outstretched arm asking for help.

newsXpress is funding this itself, including providing retailers with A1 colour posters.

Here is more information about the competition:

This competition is run by newsXpress Pty Ltd.

There are 2 prizes: one of $1,000 for entrant up to and including 17 years of age and one of $1,000 for an entrant more than 17 years of age. Each winner will receive a certificate.


  1. All entries are to be submitted by email to writing@newsxpress.com.au.
  2. Each entry is to include a first page with entrant name, age in years and months, email address, name of local newsXpress business if known (not mandatory) and the name of the piece.
  3. Each page of the entry is to have only the name of the piece.
  4. Entries to be an original, previously unpublished short story, a song, a poem or first person narrative. Maximum word length: 1,000.
  5. Page format is to be A4, font is to be arial, 12pt. No images. For short stories and first person narrative, double spaced please.
  6. Entries to be in PDF or Microsoft Word format or a format easily read by either.
  7. There is no limit on entries per person.
  8. There is no entry cost.
  9. Entries close at midnight December 11, 2020.
  10. Each entry must, in some way, reference a newsagency. We are not being prescriptive as to how central a newsagency is to the story, song or poem. We leave that up to the writer. But, we do want there to be a reference at some point to a newsagency, any newsagency.
  11. The decision of the judges will be final.
  12. The winner will be announced on the newsXpress Facebook page and elsewhere no later than January 30, 2021.
  13. newsXpress will publish the winning stories on its blog, crediting the writer.
  14. Once the competition is over, all entries will be destroyed.
  15. newsXpress will not share entrant details or use them in marketing.

A newsXpress local store may choose to offer a local prize or prizes for entries from their area. This will be entirely managed at that local store level by the local store.

How the newsXpress newsagency marketing group helps newsagents through Covid

Here we are in the last week of October 2020 newsXpress continues to provide practical help for small business retailers, for happy and successful trading through the Covid pandemic which is still with us.

Our advice in support of safe retailing has helped our local Aussie retail community of stores trade well since Covid first hit early this year.

From cleaning practices, to shopper engagement protocols, to store layout, to online sales and to safe business management principles, our suggested approaches have been working.

While news and media outlets seem to focus on negative stories, there is plenty of good news for retailers that have proactively engaged in smart and safe retail management in a Covid normal world.

We wish there was more coverage of the good Covid related news stories from small business retailers, like newsXpress stores. Stories of success as a result of sound business decisions and following best practice.

From helping our retailers get even better pricing, to early engagement with out of store marketing, to spotting trends ahead of the crowd … these are key points of assistance from newsXpress in its help for small business local newsagents and their own Covid pandemic journey. They are part of the story that has helped newsXpress stores to be well placed in trading conditions.

First with jigsaws. In February we pitched jigsaws as a growth category in a Covid world. Our members grabbed inventory, and achieved excellent sales.

Online with jigsaws. In March we turned on a national jigsaw website connected to newsXpress stores to win delivery and click and collect sales. It’s been a hit.

First with nesting. In March we identified nesting as a popular growth category. Members following our advice have added thousands of dollars in revenue.

New suppliers. We have brought on 27 new suppliers in recent months, almost all of whom have not previously dealt with newsagents.

newsXpress is grateful for the opportunities of 2020 and grateful to its community of businesses that have embraced newsXpress suggestions and supports. Together we are making a difference this year. Together we are showing that small business retailers working together can create good stories and good news in a world challenges by the Covid pandemic.

We do understand that 2020 is not a good year for many individuals and many businesses. Like any local business, we feel for them. Our core focus, however is on those we serve and those we help feed and shelter. We are grateful to have helped them this year.