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1 May 2015

Council throws the spotlight on the CBD

Gore's retail sector is set for renewed focus and support following a combined initiative led by the Gore District Council and local businesses.

Concern about emerging vacancy rates among Irk Street stores, along with spending attrition to neighbouring towns and online, have been key catalysts in spurring action among the commercial community.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said Gore has been nowhere near as affected as other townships in New Zealand. However, changes in the CBD and the potential loss of local goodwill have prompted early action in bringing stakeholders together.

"Gore is developing a strategy to become New Zealand's leading provincial town for commercial resilience and support.

"Through collaboration with retailers, property owners, industry groups and the Council we are able to respond proactively to risk and better understand opportunities for CBD businesses," he said.

The Council is working with Town Centre specialists First Retail Group, who has developed similar strategies for other regions.

First Retail's managing director Chris Wilkinson said Gore's unique position was its relatively robust commercial heart.

"The important thing is that the Council and business owners have recognised potential vulnerability and are moving quickly to address it."

A steering group of business owners met last week and were encouraged to focus on key areas that could benefit town centre traders and consumers.

These include

  • a consistency with opening hours,
  • a digital strategy for businesses,
  • free Wi-Fi in the CBD, and
  • ensuring retailers better align their range and offer what Gore consumers require.

Paper Plus Gore co-owner Doug Grant, who is on the steering group, said today's retail sector was challenging.

"As retailers we need to come together and work more diligently than ever before, just to retain the retail shops we have in Gore."

If all retailers can work together who knows what's possible, he said.

"We can see ourselves in the future being a forward-thinking and moving CBD where people want to shop and socialise."

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: info@goredc.govt.nz