TURNING ON THE LIGHTS - how pop up shops can rebuild main streets

Written on the 25 February 2016 by Melva Stone

TURNING ON THE LIGHTS - how pop up shops can rebuild main streets

Filling empty shops will increase patronage, attract further business and ultimately rebuild community and restore lease value.  So why are landlords leaving their properties vacant?

One of the fastest growing forms of marketing is cause-related, including in-kind sponsorship offering companies both large and small the opportunity to build long-term partnerships, delivering benefits which cannot be gained from mainstream advertising.

This type of support has also helped many small country towns develop successful revitalisation programs such as the 'Mainstreet Program'.

Mainstreet in the US has helped more than 2,000 communities providing a framework for carrying out a preservation-based economic development strategy.  In almost all cases the communities have been small towns with a wealth of history - much like Broome.

Here in Broome we also have some creative thinking happening about the benefits of filling up empty spaces - creating real win-win situations for the businesses using the space, those providing the space and broome itself!

The creation of the vintage shop 'Trendy Trash 'n' Treasure' on Short Street was made possible through the support of LJ Hooker enabling the shop to operate.  This shop adds an additional 'win-win' in that it uses profits to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  

Principal of LJ Hooker Broome Sue Pascoe said, "It's far better for us to have an interesting little shop alongside us than an empty dead space, and the shop also brings foot traffic to our location."

In another breath of fresh air for the town Andre Veder from RFF Australia is offering his Lock Up space free-of-charge for someone with a good business idea as part of his 'Driven Not Given' initiative.  The project symbolises the company's approach to regional development - 'getting stuck in' and making things happen.

While based more on community development rather than traditional sponsorship, the concept has huge potential for Broome.  Andre said, "We want to remove some of the barriers for people wanting to set up a small business.

"Wouldn't it be great if all of the empty shops, offices and other buildings were set up by creative people with great ideas to help get Broome back on its feet?"  Said Mr Veder who is also Vice President of the Broome Chamber.

In a town where there is great potential for 'hip meets history', is it time to 'turn on the lights' in our empty spaces?

Image caption: visually appealing Pop Up shop, liveshoptravel.com

Author:Melva Stone

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