I spent last night and half today in Cairns (far north Queensland).

I’ve been working with newsagents for 23 years and it amazes me how different newsagencies can be.

Take Cairns. There at 10PM the streets are buzzing with tourists and it’s not even high season. Opal shops were open as were some fashion stores and tour guide places.

The two newsagencies I visited were busy too. Selling all sorts of things.

It struck me comparing this to my own shop in Neighbors territory in Melbourne and how far our businesses are apart. Our challenges are quite different in so many ways yet similar in others. In Cairns, for example, the demands of tourism are HUGE. Language issues, product range, opening hours. It all makes for very different newsagencies.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. But I was. I felt like I was in a foreign place walking the streets last night – not because of the tourists but because of the significant cultural, climate and economic differences to the places I am used to.

I was last in Cairns 6 months ago but this didn’t register then. Maybe my eyes weren’t open.

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