Snowy Mountains Cookies has been in business for 14 years, supplying Australian cookies and savoury snacks to the locals of Jindabyne and other businesses.
During the Black Summer bushfires, their Jindabyne workplace and the homes of 20-30 staff were classified as no-go zones. The town was mostly evacuated over the summer holiday season, and the local economy took a big hit without its seasonal trade.
The experience of being under the threat of fires for weeks took its toll, not just financially but emotionally too.
“2020 has made us rethink what we value during our time at work and when away from work,” said Mr Nolen Oayda, owner of Snowy Mountain Cookies.
“The hardships, the sacrifice, and the frustration that small business owners go through is exhausting and when things aren’t going well and there’s no money coming in the door, mental and physical stress takes its toll. Having day-to-day business hurdles is one thing but having the combination of fires and COVID-19 is more than most of us have ever planned for.”
Snowy Mountain Cookies received government support including a $10,000 Small Business Grant from the Australian and New South Wales governments, and flexibility around their PAYG obligations.
The business also got a welcome boost from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), who recently purchased some of their gourmet products to use at international events.
DFAT is actively working with the NBRA and local councils to identify businesses in bushfire-affected areas to support by engaging them to supply products for diplomacy events across the globe.
These events promote Australia’s creative excellence, innovation, goods and services to international markets.
“The DFAT program has been incredibly helpful, they were able to help my company with a worthy order and will promote our products abroad in hope of confirming an exporting distribution channel,” Mr Oayda said.
“I’m optimistic about the future, you have to be. Realistically, the current situation of COVID-19 is the issue, how we manage that will determine what the short-term future will bring. In 20 years, it won’t matter but for the next five years our current situation is going to play a big role. I just hope the 2019-20 fire season doesn’t become a regular occurrence.”
Visit our small business support page for more information.