AN unprecedented show of strength has underlined a clear message from local businesses - "We are here to stay!"
Responding to talk of a downward trend generated by the recent closure of a number of shops in Naracoorte's main street, retailers got together this week to demonstrate they are united in their quest to provide a quality shopping experience in the local area.
Naracoorte 1 Hour Photos co-owner Emma Young gathered business people together for a photograph in the town squares as part of a promotion to remind people to "Think of us first, see how great our town is and how proud we are of what we have to offer."
A quick calculation revealed the businesses give a combined $530,000 in sponsorship to local causes each year.
Leading Edge Music will close its doors at the end of the month, after two other Smith St stores closed in February, but Mrs Young felt the Herald's coverage of the closures provided an unnecessarily gloomy snapshot of local business.
She said local businesses were constantly aiming to meet the challenge of providing customers with a positive shopping experience.
They are providing variety and an online presence despite the Global Financial Crisis and the increasing worry of online competition and competing with metropolitan stores - but they still need a little help.
Mrs Young said businesses gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship every year to local sporting clubs and charities.
"I'm not saying don't shop anywhere else, I'm saying just think of us before you do."
Sasa & Milu co-owner Sarah Ottoson-Crossling said people should ask themselves whether they could get a product locally. People often didn't think about whether a product was available in Naracoorte.
* Full story in this week's Naracoorte Herald