Mixed bag of presents for retailers this Christmas

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Nature’s Choice owner Mel Carter is looking forward to the annual Christmas on the Terrace event.
Camera IconNature’s Choice owner Mel Carter is looking forward to the annual Christmas on the Terrace event. Credit: Geraldton Guardian, Tamra Carr

Retailers have given the annual Christmas on the Terrace a mixed reception this year, with some applauding it and others saying it fails to usher people through their doors.

The Geraldton Guardian spoke to about five retailers ahead of the December 12 event, which draws large crowds into the CBD.

One shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said the City of Greater Geraldton was allowing too many market stallholders into the street, discouraging people from entering shops.

“The focus should be on the people who pay rates,” he said.

“There’s also been a problem with the City closing Marine Terrace down too early, meaning there’s loss of revenue because the event doesn’t start until hours later.

“That said, it’s improving. Every year, the City talks to shop owners more to see if they can do anything.”

Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the City was acutely focused on increasing activation of spaces in Marine Terrace and he hoped retailers would get on board with the City’s plans.

“I’m always surprised to hear retailers complaining about too much foot traffic and activity in the mall,” Mr Van Styn said.

“The City has to prepare for thousands of people to descend on the mall, so I think the early closure is a good trade-off.”

Other store owners said they were looking forward to Christmas on the Terrace, saying it was a great opportunity to showcase their products.

“It’s always a fun night; the staff are in good spirits,” Nature’s Choice owner Mel Carter said. “It’s a good way to market the business.”

Ivy Vibe owner Nic Beaver agreed. “This is a chance to show off our new shop,” she said.

The Mid West Chamber of Commerce and Industry has reflected on a dynamic year for local retailers, who have had to boost their online presence to retain market share.

“You see the businesses doing well are really using online platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram,” chief executive Joanne Fabling said.

“Despite the economic stressors, I’ve received feedback that Geraldton is becoming the new Fremantle or Leederville.”

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