New shop Licked Gelateria opens in Kiama

Owners Michael Ballardin and Paul Paterno at their gelateria, which opens on Saturday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Owners Michael Ballardin and Paul Paterno at their gelateria, which opens on Saturday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Michael Ballardin and Paul Paterno are two young businessmen that have faith in Kiama's economy.

So much faith the two young men are about to open a gelato shop in Terralong Street, not far from Kiama's two established ice-creameries.

The new business, called Licked Gelateria, opens its doors on Saturday selling "artisan gelato".

"We know Kiama well and believe this product will suit the demographics of the area," Mr Paterno said.

"Creating a venue where both locals and tourists can go at any time was top of our priority list."

Mr Paterno, 29, and Mr Ballardin, 21, already have business experience in Kiama through Centrepoint Pizza, located a few doors down on Terralong Street.

The restaurant is Mr Paterno's family business and they have worked there for 10 years and four years respectively.

"Through this business we wanted to create a vibe that will help all the businesses in our retail precinct in Terralong Street bounce off each other and create more growth," Mr Paterno said.

Mr Ballardin said business in Kiama was not as seasonal as it once was.

Their business has already created work for six people, "and hopefully we will soon need more".

Licked Gelato will open on Saturday at 11am.

"We will be offering free gelato between 11am and 1pm ... no strings attached," Mr Ballardin said.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward said new businesses such as this were good economic news for the region.

"I am excited by the fact that two local young people are rolling up their sleeves ... I am proud both Michael and Paul are deeply committed to not only growing their business, but giving something back to the local economy," Mr Ward said.

"Their success will form part of a tapestry of local business which are literally part of the essence and flavour of the Kiama township."

Banking on Kiama's tourism strengths

The Kiama Municipality enjoys a competitive advantage in accommodation, cafes and restaurants, and secondary education according to Kiama council’s draft Kiama Economic Development Strategy, now on public exhibition.

The draft strategy aims to identify short to medium-term strategies ‘‘to enhance existing sectors and to attract new business’’, particularly through emerging digital economic opportunities.

Kiama’s ‘‘technological readiness’’ thanks to the early rollout of the NBN in the municipality is viewed as a strength. However, the fact there is no significant ‘‘knowledge industries’’ sector to take advantage of the high-speed broadband is viewed as a weakness.

Kiama’s picturesque location means tourism is viewed as Kiama’s strongest industry, but the strategy identifies room for improvement in that area and ‘tourist capture’’ needs to be improved.

‘‘The natural environment is not enough to keep the tourist industry going,’’ the draft strategy states.

Agriculture is viewed as a strength of the Kiama economy, while Kiama’s lack of blue collar industries such as manufacturing and freight is a weakness.

Strategies for Gerringong and Gerroa include retaining and increasing the supply of commercial land and facilitating greater collaboration between tourism providers, including taking advantage of the southern area’s strong relationship with Berry even though Berry is located in the neighbouring Shoalhaven local government area.

The draft document can be viewed on the council’s website, at the council’s administration building and library.

Written submissions on the draft strategy are being taken until August 20.

Kiama council’s economic development committee will consider submissions received at its meeting on August 26, before submitting for final adoption.

- ALEX ARNOLD

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