Mavis May centre, with Phillipa Windsor left and Jenny Acton find delights in Mavis' store.
Mavis May centre, with Phillipa Windsor left and Jenny Acton find delights in Mavis' store. Peter Holt

Competition doesn't mean leaving fellow businesses to die

ALTHOUGH they're business competitors, City Centre traders are a tight-knit bunch and if one of them is in trouble, the rest will rally to help.

Mavis May, the proprietor of Mavis May Boutique, was left devastated when water from a heavy downpour swamped roof-top box guttering and flooded her shop.

However, by the next day she was operating out of a temporary shop just down the road.

She says she wouldn't have been able to keep her doors open without the help of her friends.

The 84-year-old walked into her shop to start work just before 9am, as usual, on November 27 to find about 10cm of water through the entire store.

"Everyone on the whole block came and helped... there were people wheeling trolleys," Mrs May said.

Casual staff who were working at the nearby newsagents were sent to help wheel the racks of clothing out of the water-logged room and other traders rolled up their sleeves in the clean-up as well.

Right by Mrs May's side were Man About Formal Hire owner Jenny Acton and Terry Deane Menswear owner Phillipa Windsor.

The trio are friends, and sisters in business, who were determined to keep Mrs May's doors open.

Ms Windsor has been handling the insurance paperwork and Mrs Acton was able to pull some favours to find Mrs May a temporary shop in Victoria St to operate from.

"The owner called me straight away and said I could use this spot; it was vacant," Mrs May said.

"It's just been wonderful."

It was a freak accident, but the business women have learned valuable lessons about what to do when the unexpected happens.

"You need to have a close read of your insurance policy," Ms Windsor said.

"Read the fine print.

"You need to know what you are actually covered for.

"Whether it's for the water rising, or from coming through the top."

Although it's been 10 long weeks since the water damage, building work at Mrs May's original site is only just getting under way.

In the interim Mrs May has continued to trade from Victoria St.

She hopes to be back in her store by April.

"It will have a new look," she said.

For the next two weeks goods will be sold at discounted prices, to help Mrs May clear stock.


 Catering for a younger mother of bride

FORTY years of trading and Mavis May Boutique is still going strong.

Mavis May first opened her doors on Victoria St in 1974.

Mackay has changed dramatically since then, and so have the fashion trends.

The ladies' wear store offers a range of selections for mothers of the bride.

However mothers of the bride in Mackay are getting much younger, Mrs May said.

"I have really noticed it in that last year or so," she said.

"So we have to think about that, and we have to cater for that.

"I am getting more stock in to cater for the younger mums."

Even 10 years ago, mothers of the bride were women in their 50s; they generally picked a classy three-piece suit.

Now they could be 45 or younger, she said.

Mrs May is about to go through the third city centre revamp in the past 30 years.

Although she agrees the city will look beautiful when it's done, she expects the associated roadworks will have a big effect on her business.

"It is so important that locals support local businesses," she said.

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