John and Lyn Anderson built Federation Square, the quaint shopping and attractions precinct nestled in the tiny Gold Creek Village.
It has been in their hands for the past 29 years, and the centre's quirky mix of tenants - the plant nursery, the aviary, the gift shop - are considered family.
When times get tough, family members tend to look out for one another.
And as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to trigger a global economic crisis, times have scarcely been tougher.
In an extraordinary act of generosity, the Andersons have told each of their 30 or so tenants that they won't need to pay rent for the month of April.
"We decided to do it because there was so much going on out there, so much scaremongering," Mr Anderson told The Canberra Times.
"We thought it's going to affect our tenants ... and we thought 'what can we do'? We thought the best way was to give them a rent-relief period and hopefully that would just help them over this period of uncertainty.
"Our tenants are like family and we want to help them."
But Mr Anderson concedes that he can only do so much.
Granting the rent waivers means the couple have lost about eight per cent of their annual income. The family's Gold Creek tourist motel, which relies almost entirely on bookings from schools, has already laid off staff after a nation-wide ban on school excursions came into effect on Monday.
The couple, along with their tenants, are now pleading with the ACT government to step up and support retailers as they attempt to ride out the inevitable economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr is planning to release an economic stimulus package later this week, which is set to include some form of tax relief for businesses and a loosening of some regulatory fees and rules.
Mr Anderson wasn't interested in low-interest loans or payroll tax exemptions. He said very small businesses needed direct assistance - and fast.
He said the government should waive commercial rates for landlords, allowing them to reduce, or waive, rents for their tenants.
And if they don't?
"We are very, very worried," he said.
"These are uncharted waters. We just don't know how long this is going to last. Three months? Six months? 12 months?"
Lesley Christiansen, who owns The Bower Birds gifts and homewares shop in Federation Square and is also Mr Anderson's sister, was deeply appreciative of the rent waiver.
"I have watched them look after their tenants over the years, time and time again they have gone beyond the call of duty," she said.
"But we will need assistance for a long time. I have two part-time casuals who I want to look after and I want to help them".
Opposition leader Alistair Coe has written to Mr Barr proposing a range of measures to support households and businesses, including residential rate relief, commercial rates waivers and a suspension of payroll tax.
"We know Canberrans are doing it tough especially after the bushfires and hailstorm and need some additional support to make ends meet," Mr Coe said.
"In recent days, these challenges have dramatically escalated and the livelihoods of thousands of Canberrans are now under threat.
"For both families and small businesses, we know it is a difficult time to make ends meet so we want to do all we can to support families to reduce cost of living pressures, and for businesses to keep their doors open.
"Small businesses are vital for local families and communities, not only for jobs but as a key part of the social fabric. We must do all that we can to help see them through."
Australian Hotels Association ACT branch general manager Anthony Brierley said that without sufficient financial and regulatory support, "many beloved Canberra venues entering the crisis will not emerge on the other side".
Mr Brierley has advocated for waivers of payroll tax, commercial rates and liquor licensing fees. He said the association was seeking guidance on how to apply the new ban on indoor gatherings of 100 or more people.
"The threat of coronavirus is real, but there is a middle-ground that minimises the risk of community transmission while ensuring the survival of the hospitality industry," he said.
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