With the holiday season winding down across town, Griffith retailers are coming to the end of one of their busiest times of the year.
While the final numbers aren’t in yet, Christmas seems to have given shops around town an end-of-year boost.
Griffith Central’s Cheryl Wood estimated around 40,000 people flowed through the plaza over the holiday season – 5,000 up on last year’s numbers.
“We’re very happy with the numbers from this year,” Ms Wood said.
With more people turning to online shopping, Ms Wood also stressed the importance of shopping local. Her message was simple “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”.
“There tends to be a trend around the Christmas tree that makes me feel we faced more competition from online than any year previously, she said.
“We need to focus on the experience and what we can provide here and now. In bricks and mortar retail we have to be better than that. We have to work really hard to pay attention. Customer service and the customer experience are key.”
According to the Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, small businesses account for 33 per cent of Australia’s GDP. They currently employ more than 40 per cent of the national workforce.
Around 1900 small to medium-size businesses operate in Griffith and Yenda.
“Griffith is a very unique market. We have such awesome shops. They’re part of the make up of the town. We want to hang on to that.”
It’s a sentiment Griffith Business Chamber President Paul Pierotti agrees with. He said there is no better time to support business than right after Christmas.
“The Christmas and January period are huge in sale time. Most businesses are promoting heavily and a lot have heavy discounts. There’s no better time to use those Christmas gift cards.”
In a lot of cases, supporting Griffith businesses also means supporting the region’s job growth.
“People have to be aware they need to support their local businesses. It’s about weighing up the saving versus the longer term cost to the community.”