Chamber Chat: Embracing change and a bigger slice of the retail pie
Maitland Business Chamber
With an ever-growing population in the city of Maitland and a changing economy post-mining construction boom, retail is playing its part and will continue to be a major provider to the local economy.
With this growth, it brings new people with different ideals to our economy. However, we are still a town that values relationships. With the growing threat of internet shopping I believe our retailers need to focus on their relationship to Maitland and to their customers to ensure growth.
This is true in most areas of the economy but in retail how you connect, engage and service your customers will be critical as the economy changes. Maitland Business Chamber can play a major role in ensuring retail connects with business and educate and advocate to improve economic conditions.
The chamber is the champion of the buy local campaign and this will continue with more innovative programs on the horizon. A change in how we approach generating customer relationships in a new social media savvy world will impact buyers’ behaviour and again the chamber can play a part in education in this arena.
Maitland has several retail centres and each has a unique feel and target market. With Stockland Green Hills growing over the next 18 months we will have a complex to rival Newcastle. It has been stated that presently over $1 billion drives east of Maitland and is spent in other major centres.
Retailers in the other parts of Maitland will need to leverage the growth in retail rather than fight it. Instead of viewing the upgraded centre as a threat, look at it as an opportunity to capture new clients – that’s the mentality that is needed in our town moving forward. The chamber would love to engage with our locally-owned operators to help create a strategy for all to keep spending local.
Just as retail needs to leverage being part of a greater region, Maitland needs to leverage spending and growth in Newcastle and the Hunter. With this in mind, be sure to get your tickets for the first of our lunch meetings on June 15 at midday, as Lauren Eyles will join us from Newcastle Port and Cruising to give us an insight on what is happening at the port. Visit www.maitlandbusiness.com.au to secure your seat.