THE downturn in local commercial and sporting activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has not dimmed the spirits of Millicent businessman Matt Cockrum.
In partnership with his wife Tam, they have successfully operated Cocky’s Signs for the past 15 years.
Despite a steep decline in custom in recent weeks, Mr Cockrum remains upbeat about the future.
“This is a very testing time for any small business like ours,” he said.
“It is nothing like we have ever experienced.
“This time of year would normally be very busy for us with lots of sporting signage, sponsor signage for local football, netball and other sporting clubs.
“Of course, we also rely on our fellow local businesses running well to be able to then support us in return.
“That is currently not the case and our work load has dropped by 80pc.”
Mr Cockrum said the business had been fortunate in the last two weeks to be getting some work from a couple of large organisations but he was unsure how long it would last.
“Our business will remain open via phone and email, our office is shut to face-to-face contact and we can arrange non-contact delivery or pick up,” he said.
“Trying to look for the positives right now we are going to take advantage of this spare time.
“There is the new challenge of home schooling the children as well as enjoying this time as a family and creating memories.
“On a business front, we are looking at our business plan for the future.”
Meanwhile, Big Trev’s Gas and Plumbing employees Sam Waring and Clint Gallio have yet to be significantly impacted by COVID-19.
The pair said it was business as usual, with a number of commercial and residential jobs on the horizon.
“It has not really affected us, but we are being more cautious on site,” Mr Waring said.
“We are also trying to do more jobs outside to make sure we keep social distancing measures.”
While sewage systems and toilets across the country are backing up as people turn to paper towels and baby wipes to deal with toilet paper, Mr Gallio said it was not a problem shared in Millicent.
“We thought we might see a lot of blocked drains because of the toilet paper shortage, but we have not had any,” he said.
“We probably have had more call out to blocked trains before the crisis.”
The pair urged people to only flush toilet paper and dispose of paper towels, baby wipes and make up wipes in the general waste bin.