Launch of Storefront Excellence Program to boost local businesses

Published on 03 May 2024

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The City of Hobart’s Storefront Excellence Program is aimed at empowering small businesses within the Hobart municipality by supporting retailers to elevate the visual appeal of their shopfronts.

This initiative is part of the city's commitment to fostering economic growth and promoting a vibrant retail environment.

The Storefront Excellence Program has been crafted to provide eligible small businesses with resources and support to revitalise their shopfronts, stimulate economic activity, and enhance the unique character of Hobart's retail landscape.

Through evidence-based advice and practical assistance, participants will receive guidance from one of Australia’s leading retail marketing researchers and advisors, Dr. Louise Grimmer, ensuring their physical and virtual storefronts embody the essence of excellence in retail marketing, and up to $2000 for them to action any suggested recommendations.

Hobart City Economy Portfolio Chair Louise Bloomfield encouraged local businesses to apply for a grant.

"The Storefront Excellence Program represents an important initiative for our local businesses to enhance their visual presence and thrive in our community,” Ald Bloomfield said.

“By leveraging this initiative, business owners or managers can tap into expert guidance and financial support to amplify their appeal and attract customers."

Dr Grimmer (pictured right) said Hobart had wonderful small and independent retail stores.

“This program is a terrific opportunity for traders to learn about the latest in consumer shopping behaviour and store presentation,” Dr Grimmer said.

“The range of programs, grants and support offered to small business owners by the City of Hobart is to be commended and this latest program is just the latest example of the Council’s commitment to supporting, revitalising and sustaining economic development in the City and the greater Hobart LGA.

“Participants will benefit from independent and impartial advice, specifically designed to help them improve their storefronts and help attract footfall, visitation and sales.

“I can’t wait to meet participants and get started with the program.”

Community-minded fabric shop located on the North Hobart restaurant strip Frangipani Fabrics has been a previous recipient of the Retail Support Grant, and manager Briony Alderslade said it had been a huge benefit her business.

“Participating in the grant program was a fantastic experience for us,” Ms Alderslade (pictured right) said.

“Running a small business can often feel isolating, but having the support of a retail design expert was truly invaluable.

“Following her guidance, we wisely utilised our grant funds to renovate and rebrand our premises, focusing on creating a space that is airy and inviting.

“As a result, we've seen a noticeable increase in both retail sales and foot traffic.

“Furthermore, we're thrilled to collaborate with Tasmanian designers such as Spotted Quoll Studio and Bosa Art Co, showcasing and supporting local art and design in our shop.”

Ald Bloomfield emphasised the significance of community support in nurturing resilient local businesses.

"Our city boasts a wealth of unique retail offerings and vibrant shopping districts, and through the Retail Support Grant Program, we can further elevate these treasures," said Ald Bloomfield.

Key dates for the program include a free Business Workshop, scheduled for Tuesday, 7 May at the Elizabeth Street conference room. This workshop will provide attendees with an overview of the grant program, including instructions on the application process.

Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to gain insights from Dr. Louise Grimmer as she presents her latest research in consumer behaviour and retail marketing.

The timeline for the Retail Support Grant Program is as follows:

• Workshop: 5.30pm Tuesday, May 7th (bookings essential and available here)

Grant Open Date: Wednesday, May 8th

• Grant Close Date: Wednesday, June 12th

The delivery of the business grant program is one of the key initiatives within the City Economy Strategy.

The grant program initiative sits under the following strategic priority: "Attract responsible investment to unlock an inventive and inclusive economy.”

For more information on the Storefront Excellence Program and to access the application process, please visit the Business Grants webpage on the City of Hobart website.