“OUR heart is not pumping and it should be pumping out to external shopping centres outside of the CBD,” Hudson’s Coffee owner/operator, Matt Kington explained when The Adviser caught up with him to discuss what he thinks should be done with the Maude Street Mall.
While Matt would like to see the mall opened back up to traffic, he says there is a lot of work to be done before that can happen, and that businesses in the CBD need to work together to see it flourish.
“I am all for the revitalisation of the CBD and for a road to be put through the mall because it is nowhere near its full potential,” Matt said.
“We do have a lot of good businesses and products in the mall, and unfortunately we have seen some good businesses leave. There is a lot of opportunity, but the CBD needs to be more attractive to draw good businesses to the area and to give current businesses reason to open on Sundays and for longer trading hours.
“I have had a lot of out of town customers coming in when there are events on in Shepparton and they ask me why there are so many vacant shops and why businesses in the mall are closed on a Sunday.
“We open 7 days a week and you can see how dead the mall is on a Sunday. It’s disappointing because there are many reasons for people to come to Shepparton and our CBD needs to be thriving to give them a reason to visit the heart of the city.
“Opening the mall up to traffic might actually justify the rates that businesses in the CBD pay, and council could justify it through the collecting of funds from parking meters.
“Council do seem to be taking some much needed action with the adoption of the Commercial Activities Centres Strategy and I hope to see that work continue to breathe life back into the CBD.”