Re-energising Gore’s retail district

Gore_Irk_StreetGore’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 St stores, along with spending attrition to neighbouring towns and online are catalysts in spurring action among the commercial community.

Gore District Mayor, Tracy Hicks, says Gore has been nowhere near as affected as other townships in New Zealand, however, changes in the cCBD and the potential loss of local goodwill has prompted early action.

“Gore is developing a strategy to become New Zealand’s leading provincial town for commercial resilience and support,” Hicks said.

“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.”

The council is working with town centre specialist, First Retail Group, which has developed similar strategies for other regions.

First Retail MD, Chris Wilkinson, said Gore’s unique position was its relatively robust commercial heart.

“The important thing is that 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: 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 is  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,” Grant said.

“If all retailers can work together, who knows what’s possible.

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


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