TOUGH: Brad Kearton Jewellers owner Brad Kearton outside his Brisbane St store.
TOUGH: Brad Kearton Jewellers owner Brad Kearton outside his Brisbane St store. Rob Williams

Tough times spreading like 'a cancer' from Ipswich Mall

A TOUGH retail environment is spreading like cancer; from the mall up Brisbane St and into other stores, an Ipswich business owner believes.

Brad Kearton operates his successful jewellery store and workshop at top of town.

The business owner has been fixing jewellery since he was only 12 years old.

"A hobby just turned into a job," he said.

Mr Kearton has shifted his store around the CBD for the past two decades.

Now located across from Fourth Child restaurant, Mr Kearton said times were tough.

"We're doing okay but it's because of the workshop," he said.

"There's no foot traffic outside.

"We're running a business with no foot traffic."

He has considered moving the business to Riverlink, but the lack of late-night access quashed that plan.

"Sometimes you're up at 1am working to fix a piece of jewellery," he said.

Mr Kearton called for the council to throw all its efforts at upgrading the central business district.

"They just need to concentrate on the CBD," he said.

"Without a heart to call the middle of Ipswich, it just won't work.

"Businesses are failing and it all starts in the mall... it's just a cancer spreading through."

Mr Kearton originally started the business on East St before moving to the mall.

He said things were fine before the place was inundated with floodwaters one January.

"We were selling every day of the week," he said.

"Up until the 2011 floods it was fine."

Businesses did not return to their peak once the waters receded.

The retail sales that once made up about 25 per cent of Mr Kearton's business now hover around 2 per cent.

His jewellers now survives thanks to the number of people turning to him to fix their jewellery.

"The mall never really recovered," he said.

Without the workshop in his store, Mr Kearton said things would be bleak.

"I'd be working for someone else," he declared.

Ipswich City Council has started work on building a one-way street in the mall.



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