The strategy centres on helping retailers, service businesses and hospitality operators to build capability and develop digital visibility and performance to meet the market in terms of range and offer.
Retail consultancy and planning company, First Retail Group, was contracted by council to realise its strategy of revitalising Gore’s retail centre, which has declined in recent years due to online shopping and people choosing to shop in other towns.
Over 130 business owners attended the launch, making it one of Gore’s largest ever gatherings of commercial stakeholders.
“Attending were senior executives from major South Island retailers, including H&J Smith CEO, John Green,” says First Retail Group MD, Chris Wilkinson.
“The initiative has captured the attention of other towns and cities as well, with both Queenstown and Dunedin fielding representatives to the event.”
He adds that the consumer-facing element of GoRetail will be the “Love Gore – Shop Local” strategy, which aims to get consumers to think twice before shopping out of town or online.
According to Gore District Council CEO, Steve Parry, Wilkinson and his staff have spent a lot of time in Gore talking to retailers face to face.
“They’ve given us a customised approach to Gore,” he says.
“The council was focused on economic development and it has been proactive in putting a plan in place.
“I’ve had great feedback from people who’ve said it’s great council is involved.”
He adds that with all the negative stories arising around Invercargill’s CBD and retail, Gore District Council is pleased that “at least we’re doing something about it”.
“We don’t want to see the town centre decay before our eyes,” stresses Parry.
“The funds for the plan have come from existing budgets and the money has been well spent.”
A community e-commerce platform is also being launched which will help showcase local business.
First Retail Group’s manager for the GoRetail project, Lorraine Nicolson, says, “This week’s turnout was one of the best we’ve ever seen from a provincial town centre, either here in New Zealand or overseas. That says a tremendous amount about Gore’s sense of community and pride in its CBD.”