8 June 2020
Store Closure Presents Opportunities
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said the downsizing of H & J Smith’s Gore store was a major blow for the community, but also presents opportunities for businesses to step up.
Even before COVID-19 hit there were major challenges facing retailing and how customers inter-act with retailers.
“But the basics of retailing haven’t changed – that is having the right product, at the right time, in the right place, at the right price. This is critical, as is providing the right shopper experience.”
Mr Hicks said the news was devastating for staff and their families. It was also cause for significant concern among locals in terms of product selection.
That said, the ease of access to Gore’s central business district provides local retailers with a real opportunity to focus on their product ranges and shopper experience.
Mr Hicks said the February floods and COVID-19 has prompted the Council to take a more proactive approach to the challenges facing the community from a social and business perspective.
A taskforce involving councillors and staff has come together and will be looking to connect with people across all sectors of the business community.
There has already been a series of meetings with businesses to gauge the feeling of the sector and work was underway on an action plan.
“We need to be mindful that the challenges we face aren’t going to be overcome immediately. This is a marathon we are in right now,” Mr Hicks said.
The Council can be an enabler and wants to work collaboratively with the business sector to support collective initiatives, self-help, and accelerated recovery, he said.
“Gore needs to become a place people want to spend time, a place where businesses are aligned to customers’ expectations and needs.
“In the midst of a crisis there is opportunity for businesses to step up.”
The Council will be meeting with the owner of the H & J’s building to understand his thoughts for the building’s future, the mayor said.