Mixed reports on Christmas and summer trading after completion of stage one renewal works

BUSY: Shoppers make their way along Warrnambool's Liebig Street looking for some last minute Christmas gifts last year.
BUSY: Shoppers make their way along Warrnambool's Liebig Street looking for some last minute Christmas gifts last year.

Liebig Street retailers have reported a steady summer and Christmas trading period after the completion of stage one of the city centre renewal works.

Business owners and managers provided mixed responses to The Standard, however most were optimistic for the future.

Hoppy’s Cafe’s Kay A’Vard said it had been a “good” summer.

“People can park and come in now,” she said.

“People are relieved the works are finished too. One or two Melbourne visitors said the street looked good.”

Mix and Co’s Kylie Rhode said the summer trading period had been busy, but not as busy as other years.

“It wasn’t anything special,” she said.

Daizy Boutique owner Maree Wills said her clothing shop had enjoyed a robust season.

“There was lots of foot traffic along the street,” she said.

“We had a good summer.”

She said the addition of shoes to her store’s offerings had been a draw card.

“They have taken off, particularly the leather ones,” she said.

Ms Wills said there had been lots of positive comments about the way the street looked from shoppers.

Warrnambool's Flynn Gurry, 17, entertained the shoppers who made their way along Liebig Street. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Warrnambool's Flynn Gurry, 17, entertained the shoppers who made their way along Liebig Street. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Collins Booksellers manager Michaelie Clark said the store had enjoyed a boost. 

“Generally the completed street has had a good impact,” she said.

“We saw some uplift on the previous year over the summer and Christmas period, particularly during January.” 

Brightbird Espresso and BrightBurger owners Mark and Katrina Brightwell said they had “confidence in the CBD, and in particular Liebig Street”.

Late last year they opened a new night time burger venture.

“We have invested and extended our business,” Mr Brightwell said.

“We now include Sunday trading. It would be nice to see other businesses open on a Sunday as well. There is free parking in the CBD on a Sunday.” 

Lots of shoppers made their way along Liebig Street, looking for some last minute Christmas gift last year. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Lots of shoppers made their way along Liebig Street, looking for some last minute Christmas gift last year. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Sportspower Warrnambool manager Tammy said it had been tough during the renewal works.

“Over Christmas and the start of January it picked up,” she said.

“It is nice to see people coming back down the street, but it will take awhile. We want people to continue to support all the shops. There are a lot of locally owned businesses here.”

She said it had been disappointing to lose parks out the front of the business as part of the renewal works.

Katies manager Mandy Sewell said she felt there had not been as many tourists up the street as in previous years.

“Maybe there was events on and the weather was good,” she said.

“We were not as busy as previous years.”

Lots of shoppers made their way along Liebig Street, looking for some last minute Christmas gift. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Lots of shoppers made their way along Liebig Street, looking for some last minute Christmas gift. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Ms Sewell said people complained about parking in the CBD.

“They say that they will go out to Gateway Plaza,” she said.

National Warrnambool Travel owner Virginia Paton said through the works and the summer period they had been as busy as normal.

“We’ve had great support from our loyal clients,” she said.

She said she thought the street was “beautiful”, but said people were not happy with the parking meters.

A spokeswoman from Just Jeans said new staff had only begun at the store, so it was hard to compare to previous years.

“We think the streetscape is a great improvement,” she said.

The traders comments come as stage two of the renewal works kick off on Liebig Street between Koroit and Timor streets.

The Warrnambool City Council are encouraging people to continue shopping throughout the works with a promotion similar to a Monopoly game.

As part of the 2018 city centre business support package for traders, a Find the Five city promotion will be rolled out from April. 

CBD shoppers collect tokens, with each token providing either an instant prize or an image of one of five Warrnambool icons – a Maremma, seal, penguin, whale or stingray.

If you collect all five of the icons you win $1000.