Businesses in the Nowra CBD thrived on Thursday night, as shoppers made the most of the chance to buy all their Christmas presents locally.
Stores in the Nowra CBD stayed open until 9pm on Thursday, as part of the Shoalhaven Business Chamber’s sixth annual Christmas Shopping Night.
Business chamber president Jemma Tribe said the purpose of the event was not only to keep shoppers local, but also to reinvigorate the CBD.
“In previous years we’ve seen CBD looking tired with vacant shops and that’s caused people to drive north to look further afield for shopping opportunities,” she said.
“That’s been changing with initiatives like this and it’s creating a buzz in the CBD.”
Ms Tribe said the community responded to the event well, with line-ups ate every cash register.
“Christmas time is typically the busiest for Nowra shop owners, particularly with the shopping night,” she said.
“What we’ve found is that even if people don’t spend on the night, the come back and later and purchase things they’ve seen.
“It’s an important catalyst for spending.”
The event has steadily grown in size over the past six years, and Ms Tribe hopes the event can be held more regularly in future.
“Some businesses have spoken to me about opportunities to close the street to make to easier for people to move around on both sides,” she said.
“They’ve said they’d also like to have music and entertainment to try and improve overall experience.”
She also hoped an app could be set up with maps detailing which stores are open and what they sell.
Ms Tribe said she was so passionate about the event as it allows micro and small businesses to expand their reach and grow their customer bases, which she says is vital to the local economy.
“Some of these micro businesses started as shelf or corner in another store and many have moved on to have a lease in their own right,” she said.
“I’ve also been looking into grants opportunities to help these micro businesses grow in our CBD.”