During this week’s Ordinary Council Meeting (29/06), Councillors adopted a plan to support the retail industry in Maryborough.
Titled ‘Maryborough Retail Recovery Program’, SGS Economics and HelloCity were engaged to work together with Council, retail businesses and the community to define a program of ideas and initiatives to help retailers in Maryborough recover from the impacts of COVID.
The process to develop the Program involved community engagement across many stages, including the Shine Maryborough Conversation which was held over a two-week period in November 2021, with more than 40 business owners, traders and people who live, shop and work in Maryborough joining the conversation.
The need for new approaches to support the retail sector was identified as a key priority in the Shire’s Economic Development Strategy.
Central Goldfields Shire Councillor Grace La Vella said the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local retail sector have given greater urgency to this priority, particularly as the trend towards online shopping continues.
“The retail industry in Maryborough has been significantly affected by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic over recent years. It has shown remarkable resilience to date but needs support in order to adapt and facilitate growth in the face of on-going challenges.
“The smaller local retailers and traditional CBD shopping strips, that are critical to local jobs and profits being retained and circulated in the local economy, need support to meet these challenges.”
Rinaldi’s Fashions owner Linda Parry said it was important to future-proof local businesses.
“Local businesses employ local people and contributing to the local economy is integral to every small community.
“It’s important there are steps in place to ensure we will be around for years to come and this retail recovery program is a step in the right direction in terms of understanding our needs and challenges.
“Retail is not only a large employer in our Shire but also financially supports our local sporting and community groups.”
The Program identifies five characteristics that lie at the heart of Maryborough’s retail identity, these are:
- Undiscovered: Ready to shine, up and coming, underappreciated, changing, evolving
- Fossicker’s paradise: Bric-a-brac, Op shops, antiques, pickers marts, bargains and treasures, hidden gems
- A complete package: Everything you need is on your doorstep, convenient, easy living
- Everyone’s a local: Warm, friendly, connected, welcoming, relationship-oriented, make yourself at home
- Proudly independent: Strong main street, independent retailers, long standing businesses are backbone of the town.
Council officers will now review the program of proposed initiatives and develop an implementation plan based on the identified priorities, informed by achievable timelines.
The Maryborough Retail Recovery Program has been funded through a $40,000 grant from the State Government’s Regional Recovery Fund and $5,000 Council contribution.