1. Support deregulated trading hours.
There's little chance Kmart will want to come to a city that won't allow them to trade on a Sunday. When the council voted to forbid larger businesses from trading on a Sunday, they effectively told large companies "we don't really want you here".
If Geraldton wants to be seen as open for business, the first thing it needs to change is the laws that stop people from doing business when they choose.
2. Write to Kmart.
At the end of the day, council can grease the rails to make things a bit easier for businesses, but they can't force them to come here.
And whenever another business announces that they plan to open, a bunch of people pipe up and say "we want Kmart instead" as if those things are in any way related. If you're one of those people, please take a moment to slap yourself.
One cannot buy a Kmart franchise, the way one can own a Hog's Breath franchise. One cannot just choose to start their own Kmart store, no matter how wealthy they are. The only business that can open a Kmart is... Kmart, which is a subsidiary of Wesfarmers.
So contact Kmart and tell them you want them to come to Geraldton.
3. Talk to your councillors and tell them it's a priority for you.
When the day comes that Kmart puts in a building application for Geraldton, if the people who vote on their proposal know you seriously want Kmart, they may not put ridiculous restrictions on Kmart, scaring them away from Geraldton and enticing them to open a store elsewhere.
It's the council's job to push through what would be best for the wider community. So let your councillors know if you want a Kmart.
4. Talk to your friends about why you want a Kmart.
Whenever the Kmart debate crops up, there are the dissenting voices who claim Kmart would be terrible for Geraldton.
These people typically don't struggle to buy groceries each week, and don't know what it's like to struggle to feed their kids.
They condescendingly tell the poorer folks in our community that Geraldton doesn't need a large discount department store, and everyone should buy expensive handcrafted homewares like they do.
I know this, because I was one of these people.
I met a single mum who explained to me how much she loved Kmart, how she could not really afford much each week, and how Target really was substantially more expensive than Kmart. She told me how whenever she or a relative of her's went to Perth she stocked up on items from Kmart.
I realised I had been a condescending douchebag and had forgotten what it was like to live week to week, barely making ends meet.
So chat to your friends and explain why you want a Kmart. Seeing the world through other people's eyes really does help.
5. Support local businesses and let them know you still plan to continue shopping with them even after Kmart arrives.
Having a Kmart in Geraldton will hopefully stop some of the money bleeding out of the local economy through online shopping and shopping trips to Perth. But we want to continue to support the local businesses that support us.
It's tough being a small business owner. Often people look at you like you're one of the elite, when the truth is more likely that you're struggling to pay your mortgage just like everyone else.
You just have more stress and more responsibility.
And to some of these small business owners, the idea of a Kmart coming to town conjures up thoughts of a big conglomerate crushing boutique retailers and ultimately giving shoppers less choice and less quality.
But I know personally, that while I may go to Kmart at times instead of Target, the intangibles that the smaller shops offer are something Kmart can never offer.
So reassure the business owners you know that you will continue shopping with them even if a discount department store ever arrives in Geraldton.
These small businesses are in many ways the lifeblood of our town, with many of the owners being among the most proactive and involved members of the community. They deserve our support.