Business owner Tracey Togni wants shoppers to be positive about the changing face of Liebig Street.
Last year she moved her two businesses to the main street, after six years at a Fairy Street site. Ms Togni’s businesses are Phinc Photography and Graphic Design and the retail store Phinc, which stocks homewares, clothing, footwear and gifts.
She says the move has been a successful one.
“I was finding it tricky to run two businesses from two different locations,” she said.
“When my lease was finishing up I looked around and this opportunity came up. The building enables me to have a studio upstairs and I work here. I love seeing customers that come in as well.”
She said she did have some worries about moving during stage one of the city centre renewal works.
“I’ll be honest, it was a little bit scary,” she said.
“There was so much negativity, especially on Facebook. You would read things about it and people would be saying they felt sorry for the traders, but then they would say they were avoiding the CBD themselves. The people who had voices that were very negative could of actually supported the traders here a little bit better. In saying that though, a lot of our loyal customers from Fairy Street and new ones have loved us being here.”
Ms Togni said the new location enabled the business to take advantage of the summer tourist trade, which wasn’t as noticeable in Fairy Street. She said she was positive throughout the revamp works.
“We had a good Christmas and a good January as well,” she said. “Now is the time we will need support from Warrnambool residents with the negativity of the car parking and pedestrian crossings. You just wish people could be a little bit more positive about it. We all think it looks great. The feedback from customers and tourists has been great too. We need to be a group of pro-active people and showing off what we have here. It’s a mix of nice shops with great customer service. You build relationships with these people too, and you don’t get that shopping at bigger stores. You want your shopping experience to be pleasurable and enjoyable. That’s what everyone prides themselves on here.”