A RETAIL expert is helping Warrnambool businesses forge plans to emerge from the coronavirus downturn, advising central businesses to present a story about local products to visitors.
Ginnane and Associates' Martin Ginnane will visit about 20 retailers in the city this week, with a particular focus on the central business district, at the request of Warrnambool City Council.
"The shopping centres outside of town are fantastic, but the growth of Warrnambool CBD is all about local. When people come to Warrnambool as a visitor they want to find something they can't get necessarily get elsewhere," Mr Ginnane said.
He said he was pleased to see the pandemic had accelerated change for some businesses that had created online stores and upgraded shop interiors.
"What COVID has done for a lot of people is give them the opportunity to stop and have a breath," Mr Ginnane said.
He said for small businesses that might have opened from home during the lockdown there was now opportunity to move into first-floor offices in the CBD.
Mr Ginnane said he was not against paid parking in the CBD, as long as there was long-term parking available. "My feeling is that you want to be able to enjoy Liebig Street and Fairy Street at leisure, an hour's parking is not going to solve that," he said.
Despite this year's lockdowns and economic uncertainty, Mr Ginnane believed Christmas would see a spike in trade.
"It's going to be a really strong rewarding yourself and family Christmas," he said.
Liebig Street's Crackling Smallgoods co-owner Brandon Lang said Mr Ginnane had given him some useful ideas after a meeting on Wednesday.
"I just need to start implementing the story, the origins of items like our sausages and how they're made," he said.
"Instead of me personally going out and telling the story of what we do and how we make it, grab a black board or some brown paper and write it up.
"He has pointed out a few things I didn't know and pointed me in the right direction. He gave me a to-do list."
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