Chamber wants retail balance for Launceston

Launceston Chamber of Commerce president Maree Tetlow said it was important for Launceston to strike a balance between the larger chain stores and small, independent businesses.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce president Maree Tetlow said it was important for Launceston to strike a balance between the larger chain stores and small, independent businesses.

THERE is a need to find a balance between large companies and small independent business to ensure Launceston retains a unique identity, according to a peak business group.

It was reported yesterday that Launceston's Becks Home Timber and Hardware site in Dowling Street would close by the end of August.

The competition between Woolworths, which owns Becks, and the Wesfarmers- owned Bunnings has become more apparent in Launceston in recent years.

Both companies also own the vast majority of supermarkets - Coles and Woolworths - in the city.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce president Maree Tetlow said it was important to find the balance between large companies and small unique businesses.

"You can't stop them from coming in but what we can do, and what we are having conversations with council about, is how can we incentivise small businesses to establish in Launceston, smaller retail, boutique businesses, in the start-up phase," Ms Tetlow said.

She said there had to be a balance.

"Your CBDs are really important underpinning, and a focal point, for the community - they want to be able to shop like every other Australian."

Ms Tetlow said this was something that the chamber would raise through the Launceston City Council's City Heart project, which aims to revitalise the central business district.

University of Tasmania program director of interior design senior lecturer Kirsty Mate shared similar sentiments last week.

Ms Mate, who conducted a study on shopping centre design, said it was important that Launceston forge its own identity rather than rely on brand name or bulky good stores.

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