Launceston retailers must work together in changing sector

JEWELLER: Jim Hughes and Sons Jewellers owner Rob Turner is sponsoring an award at the 2018 Business Excellence Awards. Picture: Paul Scambler
JEWELLER: Jim Hughes and Sons Jewellers owner Rob Turner is sponsoring an award at the 2018 Business Excellence Awards. Picture: Paul Scambler

All sectors of Launceston’s business community need to collaborate to strengthen the retail in the city, according to one shop owner. 

Jim Hughes and Sons Jewellers owner Rob Turner has sponsored the new Retail Entrepreneur Award at the Launceston Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards. 

Mr Turner said it was important the chamber had recognised the role of retail in Launceston, but said the City of Launceston council had its part to play as well. 

Customers are always rushing out here because their meter is about to run out and they don’t want a fine.

Jim Hughes and Sons Jewellers owner Rob Turner

He said expensive parking meters had negatively affected his business over the years.

“That’s something I’ve always asked and pushed – for a bit cheaper parking and to relax it a bit and not be so keen to fine people,” Mr Turner said.

“Customers are always rushing out here because their meter is about to run out and they don’t want a fine.

“I know council has their budget, but it’d just be good to change that culture a little bit and listen to the retailers a bit and listen to people who are on the coalface to give that feedback.”

City of Launceston general manager Michael Stretton said high parking demand in the city showed motorists didn’t think parking was too expensive.

“We know it’s often difficult for motorists to find parking spaces at peak times, which indicates that parking fees in Launceston are fair and reasonable for a city of our size,” he said.

The chamber’s 2018 awards ceremony has been dubbed as the Year of the Entrepreneur. 

We want to develop a sense of purpose in the retail space where the voice of retail is heard in Launceston.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive officer Neil Grose

Chamber executive officer Neil Grose said it was important to recognise the city’s retail entrepreneurs and work closer with the sector to enhance growth. 

“What we’ve seen is that we need to lift the presence of retail in Launceston and what better way than highlighting the entrepreneurs in Launceston,” Mr Grose said.

“We want to develop a sense of purpose in the retail space where the voice of retail is heard in Launceston.”

Mr Turner said Launceston’s retail businesses needed to find ways to stay relevant in the face of a changing market.

“We need to be unique and a bit quirky to keep independents healthy and competing against national [companies].”