Newly opened retail shop IRepair Phones and Tablets in Ararat is a rare sight in small country towns during a pandemic.
While the small business sector is hit hard from restrictions to the public's movement in place, staff needing to stay home to care for children remote learning and a general demise in foot traffic along main streets, new businesses opening is a glimmer of hope for the business sector.
Owner Anthony Lyons said expanding his business into Ararat was a risk at this time, but one he was happy to take on to support the Ararat community.
Mr Lyons opened his store in Horsham almost four years ago and opened a store in Stawell during January, right on the cusp of the pandemic influencing businesses.
"Opening the Ararat store was to balance out how quiet the store was in Stawell after we opened," he said.
"I've got a full time worker in Horsham so splitting my time isn't too bad because I'm only working between Stawell and Ararat at the moment.
"Trade is so unpredictable at the moment. You don't know what you are going to get from day to day from either town.
"One day it can be busy and another can be quiet. It makes it difficult to plan out the days. To sit in the shop all day for just one customer and a small sale makes doing business really hard."
Mr Lyons said the difference in trade between Horsham and his other stores was "huge".
"In Horsham, we don't stop from the time we open the doors," he said. "We can have people in cars waiting for us to open. Obviously, Stawell and Ararat have a smaller population.
"I also think everyone is a bit tighter with their money at the moment as well with the uncertainty that surrounds COVID-19 and what is still to play out from that."
While Mr Lyons said the slow start to opening the stores wasn't all bad - it's given him time to reflect and look into ways of expanding his business to suit the region's needs now, and into the future.
"Broken screens, transferring data and data recovery are probably the main things customers come in and see us about," he said.
"We do stock a lot of accessories and have gone into console accessories and headphones as well.
"We have had some difficulty getting stock as most of our accessories come from Hong Kong and parts come from China.
"What can sometimes take a few days can take a week or more. We're trying our best to minimise the wait times where we can."
Mr Lyons said the number one tip he could offer to owners of phones was to not plug a water damaged phone into power, even if it was left in a bag of rice overnight.
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