The Gore District is well placed to restart its economy post COVID-19, says Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks.
His comments come after Zoom meetings this week with about 20 business and community leaders from health, commerce, retail and agricultural. The Council organised the meetings as a way to start the conversation about ensuring businesses are connected and supported.
“By working together we will bounce back from this disaster.
“While there are businesses severely affected by the lockdown, it was heartening to hear from those who are adapting in a challenging environment.”
A common theme was that Gore was as good a place as any, if not better, to recover from the pandemic, Mr Hicks said.
“We have the strength of our agricultural sector and a caring community. Resilience is in our DNA.”
This year has been a real test for business owners and residents with first the flood, in February, and now a pandemic.
“Unfortunately, what we are going through now is not a sprint like the floods, but a marathon.”
Now more than ever, residents need to be loyal and support local. Spending locally has a ripple effect across many sectors, Mr Hicks said.
Retail First managing director Chris Wilkinson said businesses would need to listen to their customers.
“Customer experience is vital, businesses will need to be agile and adaptive in the months and years ahead.”
First Retail has worked closely with local retailers for the last four years on such campaigns as LoveGore ShopLocal – “this is now about all businesses in the Gore District, wherever they are located and whatever product or service they are offering”, he said.
Mr Hicks said there were a number of good ideas to come out of the meetings, including developing a campaign to encourage people to spend local and stay local, and the potential for a GoreBiz Hub in a prominent site in Gore.
“We need people to put their money where their heart is,” he said.