CORNER BROOK — From the discussion around the table Thursday, it was clear everyone involved with the Corner Brook Downtown Business Association agree it’s time for a change in focus.
Following the meeting, outgoing chair Keith Watton and new chair Christina Tulk shared their thoughts on what they feel should be the group’s future focus.
Watton said in the past the association concentrated a lot on the infrastructure in the downtown, but now that things like the lighting and interlocking brick sidewalks are in place the time is right to move into other areas.
The primary one being marketing.
He said the association has been doing some marketing initiatives over the last year.
“Just trying to experiment with what is it that people are responding to. What is it that businesses want from us and I think we’ve kind of got that figured out.”
Now, he said, it’s time to act on those ideas and work with businesses to stimulate activity.
“I’d rather spend all the marketing budget on initiatives that work for existing businesses and existing citizens of Corner Brook.
“We can’t really expand our focus to drawing tourists here, trying to attract cruise ships, that’s somebody else’s job,” said Watton.
“But the most important thing is to make people that live somewhere in Corner Brook, to make them want to come down to the downtown at least once a day to do the things they need to do to live, that’s the number one goal.”
Watton also said the association and the city need to work closely to promote the downtown as a place to do business, and that he felt the willingness was there to do that.
Tulk joined the Corner Brook Downtown Business Association in 2008 because she felt it was important as a business owner in the area to get involved.
“I’m directly affected by the traffic patterns and the number of people who are coming into the downtown core. So, I think it’s important for business owners to be directly involved in making sure that people are coming into the downtown core cause that directly affects your business.”
She agrees with Watton that the role of the association in providing infrastructure is completed and it’s time to focus on strategic planning for the next five years.
A plan, that she also said needs to focus on marketing the downtown.
“And I think the most important thing is gonna be marketing to the citizens of Corner Brook. To tell them you know something there’s lots of opportunity here in the downtown as well, and we’ve got services and products to offer you that you’re gonna be interested in.”
She also agrees that a strong partnership with the city will be beneficial to both parties.
“Because we want the same things. The City of Corner Brook wants the city to grow. It wants its citizens to be happy and it wants its businesses to grow because a thriving economy will attract more businesses to our community and the downtown business is intimately connected to those people who are coming down into the downtown core.”