Devonport’s retail sector is under-prepared for coming opportunities, Devonport Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Stacey Sheehan says.
Ms Sheehan said that was a particular concern of hers, and suggested the chamber would focus its advocacy, business events and media efforts in coming months on helping address the lack of preparedness.
Devonport Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Stacey Sheehan,
“In the last 12 months, we’ve seen some amazing changes in the Devonport landscape …,” Ms Sheehan said in the chamber’s annual report for 2015-16.
“ … cranes dot the skyline in the CBD with the commencement of stage one of Devonport’s CBD master plan and the new flagship store for food icons Hill Street Grocer opens its doors in just a few months.”
Ms Sheehan listed Devonport’s opportunities as including rising tourism numbers and retail spending and an agribusiness sector in great shape, with the possible exception of dairying.
She mentioned the benefits of the low dollar, expanded freight equalisation scheme and growing international appetite for high-quality Tasmanian produce.
“And yet, if we are to make the most of these conditions, every business needs to be at its most productive and generating the income needed for business expansion and the all-important rainy day fund we all tap into to keep staff employed and bills paid during the not so good times,” Ms Sheehan said.
“It is my particular concern at the moment that our retail sector is under-prepared for the opportunities on the horizon ...”
Ms Sheehan said a strategic plan for retail was needed to make sure main streets were vibrant and appealing and, above all, professionally marketed to locals and tourists.
Ms Sheehan said retail was the biggest local employer.
“We simply must have a strategic plan to avoid an old versus new scenario when stage one of the CBD plan is complete …,” she said.
She said she had given two presentations to city aldermen during the year about funding for a facilitator to “inform and engage’’ retailers.