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26 April 2023
By Abby Walter
A Wimmera business leader says acknowledging central business districts and ways to sustain locally-owned businesses has never been more important.
West Vic Business ambassador Stacey Taig said the retail landscape was changing and it was crucial for communities to adapt and find ways to ensure main streets remained active and busy.
It comes as Horsham is named a finalist in the Mainstreet Australia awards for best regional main street or town centre.
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“With statistics and trends moving towards online shopping, it is incredibly important that we sustain business districts for the good of the business community and wider community,” Ms Taig said.
“We’re inundated every day with shop local messages and as with any marketing, people start to put the blinkers on to it and we tend to make shopping fit within habits that fit within our busy lifestyles.
“So, online shopping is something that we can’t ignore, because it’s happening.
“Acknowledging our main streets is incredibly important and a reminder for everybody of the role they play within any community.”
Ms Taig said there was always room to improve an already positive experience in Horsham’s central business district, CBD.
“We need to be open to change and look at new means of attracting foot traffic, whether that be from external sources such as tourism precincts to drive foot traffic,” she said.
“Making our CBD attractive to all generations is what will secure its future.
“We need to look at green spaces, gathering spaces and new ways that people want to commune together.
“Around the world people are recognising that attracting all demographics is a safeguard for CBDs in a changing world and pace of business.”
Ms Taig said when communities came together, great things happened.
“We need to trust and understand that key stakeholders are all working together – I think better than ever before, which makes it an exciting time across all shires,” she said.
“There’s an acknowledgement, moving forward, that we need to make positive changes to ensure a positive future for our business community and our greater community.
“If we want to make Horsham somewhere that our young people want to stay and live in and attract young people and young families, we have to think about how we do it.”
Launceston Central City and Mackay Regional Council join Horsham as finalists for best regional main street or town centre.
Ms Taig said the group nominated Horsham for the award after winning the events category last year.
“I think Horsham has an accessible main street and it’s an incredible boutique-style shopping experience, which visitors appreciate,” she said.
“We have some long-term, well-established businesses that have been stewards of our local business community for many years and this is a celebration of those businesses and new ones that are reinvigorating sections of the street.”
Mainstreet Australia executive officer Elizabeth Joldeski said other award categories included best place activation, event or initiative, best digital marketing and most sustainable main street.
“Mainstreet Australia awards began more than 20 years ago, to recognise the achievements of the people, programs and organisations that ensure the ongoing success of our main streets,” she said.
The 2023 award winners will be announced on May 19 during Main Streets of Australia Week.
Ms Joldeski said innovation, best practice, benefit and success factor were criteria elements.
Ms Taig said the awards would celebrate the importance of locally-owned businesses and the CBD.
“When you win an award, it means something about the work you do – but also a tool you can use to improve into the future,” she said.
“What a wonderful thing to say, if we win, that we have Australia’s best regional main street.”
The entire April 26, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire April 26, 2023 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!