Raj Sharma from Indian Mehfil is fearful he may not make it to next year when the CBD redevelopment takes shape.
Raj Sharma from Indian Mehfil is fearful he may not make it to next year when the CBD redevelopment takes shape. Rob Williams

Indian joint pleads with community to support local business

IPSWICH'S favourite Indian restaurant has put out a heartfelt plea to residents: use the CBD.

Rajesh Sharma has operated Indian Mehfil for nine years and is fearful he may not make it to a decade with the decreased foot traffic and lack of parking in the CBD.

"It's not just hard to see as a trader, but also feeling the effect, that's the main problem," he said.

"The trade the last six to eight months has dropped so dramatically that it's going to be hard to survive."

Mr Sharma put out a plea on social media to all residents to make the most of what is in the CBD before it is too late.

 

Ipswich CBD redevelopment. Ipswich Mall. May 12, 2019.
Residents can expect the mall to take shape by Easter next year. Rob Williams

He even speculated that new businesses opening may have difficulty because the foot traffic, nor the mentality to go into the CBD is there.

"Opening a new businesses, I'm not against it, it does help, but we really have to be practical, do we have the foot traffic, do we have the people in the CBD after 5pm?" he asked.

"Those businesses are opening in such a quick turnover, it is not good for our community.

"It's just not just mum and dad that open (those businesses), there's heaps of businesses involved, there's a supply chain behind it, it's not just two people affected by the closures."

Mr Sharma said that he has invested heavily in their heritage building they call home, and he had seen the closure of a dozen, locally owned businesses.

He said it is important residents support the remaining businesses trading in the CBD against the tough economic conditions during the redevelopment.

"It's very hard and practically, in the mall, it's not going to get better until the mall is done and we have the foot traffic back," he said.

"A lot of people have bled a lot of money, and I am bleeding a lot of money now as well.

"It's hard, I must say, I've been here for nine years, I've never seen a drought like this before, this is hard."

"Whether we can last or not depends on the community support."

For now, it's a matter of wait and see with the CBD makeover expected to take shape by Easter next year.