A couple of weeks ago, a small appliance maker in rural Queensland called Kitchenware Enterprises announced it was shutting down and selling its entire business.
The company, based in the sleepy town of Kambah in the northern New South Wales town of Wagga Wagga, said it had not been able to secure the necessary permits for its new facilities.
A few months earlier, the company had been able hold on to its small appliance business through the end of 2016, but it was only able to continue operating with limited staff after a $1.3m loan was secured from the Australian Government.
The business has been operating since March 2017, and has grown to become the second largest appliance manufacturer in the world.
However, after the company closed its doors, it announced the closure of all the remaining manufacturing and supply facilities in the region, including the largest appliance supply chain in Australia.
Wagga Waggawamah said in a statement it would also be removing its online sales platform from the website, and all of its online and phone services.
“The closing of this business was made to address the long-term financial sustainability of the business, and to protect its brand and brand owners, the business was sold to another company,” the company said in the statement.
“This sale has not been completed and we are still working to find a buyer.”
In the meantime, we have closed our online sales and mobile application platforms, as well as all of our online and telephone services, and are removing the online sales from our website.
“A statement from the company also confirmed that it was not going to reopen its website, but that it would be working to re-open it sometime next year.
But Kitchenware’s announcement has left many in the industry stunned.”
What we’ve been hearing is that this is a very big deal for them.
They’ve had a very small business that had been operating in a very rural area for some time,” business owner Ian Stenhouse told the ABC.”
We’ve been able through our organisation, through the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, to get permits and to negotiate for permits with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, so that the company could actually continue.
“A spokesperson for the Department said the Government had been working with the company to ensure that the business could reopen.”
There is a process to get the permits,” the spokesperson said.”
It’s up to the Minister to decide whether or not they want to make that process more streamlined and easier for businesses.
“A spokesman for the Australian Consumer Law Reform Association (ACLRA), which represents small business owners, said the closure had been a blow to small business in Australia and it would continue to fight for more protections.”
When you have a small business struggling and people are saying ‘I don’t want to pay taxes’, that’s a real barrier to entry for small business,” ACLRA president Chris Williams said.