Emerald’s biggest business breakfast

Aldo and Rose of Emerald Fruit Barn, Kasia of the Star of Emerald, Nicole of CMe Uniforms, Jacqie of Tinkars Corner, Joy of Emerald Village Meats and Indigo of Kiki and Finch are participating in the May Madness Promotion. Picture: EDRA. 280194_08

By Jamie Salter

The Eastern Dandenong Ranges Association (EDRA) is gearing up to host its biggest business breakfast yet at the Puffing Billy Lakeside Visitor Centre in Emerald.

The May Q and A Business Breakfast will address key issues and post-Covid-19 trends for growing the local economy in the Eastern Dandenong Ranges.

The breakfast will have a number of prominent guest speakers including Puffing Billy chief executive officer Peter Abott who will provide an overview of the Puffing Billy Railway Act and investment in the Puffing Billy Railway Masterplan.

Mainstreet Australia urban planner Stephen Sully will share insights into the revitalisation, management, planning and activation of main streets.

Industry Capability Network’s Andy Balmain will be talking about creating jobs and how local businesses can make connections to projects.

Cardinia Shire Council economy manager Andrew Pomeroy will explain insights into the Economy ID statistics and profile for Eastern Dandenong Ranges.

EDRA chairman Garry McGough said the business breakfast was about planning for the future.

“The event will be held at the beautiful Emerald Lake and people will be able to pose questions throughout the Q and A panel,“ he said.

“Normally we have about 40 people attend but we’re expecting 100 – we have never done something to this level before.

“Despite Covid-19, our membership has continued to grow, which is a bit of an achievement.“

Twenty townships make up the Eastern Dandenong Ranges and seven of these have main street shops that support local community and visitor needs including Cockatoo, Gembrook, Emerald, Monbulk, Kallista, Upper Beaconsfield and Belgrave.

EDRA’s membership manager Lynne Trensky said village communities relied on local businesses to provide services across all sectors during the pandemic and we are witnessing a resurgence to shop and support locals more.

“Villages have grown exponentially over the last ten years putting these townships on the map for compelling food related tourism experiences that further enhance our nature based and heritage attractions including the iconic Puffing Billy,“ she said.

“Collectively, businesses operating in all sectors can benefit by collaborating to create thriving environments and support the growth of prosperous and sustainable communities.“

The business breakfast will be held on Friday 27 May from 6:45am to 9am.

In conjunction with Main Streets of Australia Week, EDRA is also running a May Madness Promotion to support its retail business members.

From Monday 16 May to Sunday 22 May, customers that spend $20 or more in-store at any of the participating businesses simply fill out an entry form for their chance to win $500, $300 $ 200 in vouchers to spend within participating stores.

Winning entries will be drawn on Tuesday 24 May and advised by phone on Wednesday 25 May.

For information on participating stores follow the EDRA Facebook Page.