Other townships around New Zealand are reporting record numbers of empty shops.
Though Gore’s retail occupancy isn’t as bad as places like Invercargill, there are concerns about the number of vacant shops emerging along Irk St.
Spending in neighbouring towns and online has also spurred the town into action.
Hicks says Gore is keen to become New Zealand’s leading provincial town for commercial resilience.
“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,” he says.
The council is working alongside First Retail Group to improve the CBD.
First Retail Group has developed similar strategies for other towns around New Zealand, such as Queenstown and Lower Hutt in Wellington.
Business owners have been encouraged to focus on areas that could benefit both traders and customers.
These include consistency with opening hours, free wifi in the CBD, a digital strategy and aligning their product range with what customers are after.
Gore Paper Plus co-owner Doug Grant says today’s retail industry 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 says.
He says if all retailers work together, who know what is possible.
We wrote about a little town in the South Island called Hokitika that has defied the odds through its Love Hokitika campaign.
It is getting hugely successful results and more customers to its shops through initiatives such as local market days.