How Do We Improve the Viability of Suburban Shopping Strips
I work in a suburban shopping strip in Strathpine which, like so many others, is suffering in the current economic conditions. Vacant accommodation with “For Lease” signs litter the strip and have done so for a number of years.
I was recently approached by the Quest Newspapers to comment for an article, published in the Pine Rivers Press/North Lakes Times (Thursday, October 9, 2014, P13), titled “Right location key to success”. After reading the article in full, it promoted me to explore further – what can these suburban shopping strips do to be more competitive.
Shopping strips are faced with a few obstacles. Not all shops/buildings within a strip are owned by one organization or designed with a clear objective/goal in mind. Therefore some may have no off-street parking while others may have more than adequate parking. Further there is no guarantee as to the types of businesses which make up a shopping strip and as a result they may not complement each other and therefore not be customer friendly. Further there is no common branding of the strip.
In addition to this, as business owners know, a major competitor to a shopping strip is a shopping centre. So, a good starting point is to look at what makes shopping centres more attractive. Well …
- Normally customers have access to guaranteed parking space within the complex which makes shopping and access to shops easy.
- Shopping centres make sure the mix of tenants works.
- Tenants are arranged within the complex to maximises convenience.
- Centres are normally clearly branded so you know what it stands for and have a fair idea as to what type of shops will be there.
- Most shopping centres are owned by someone like Westfield who have a very clear goal as to what they are planning.
So how do shopping strips counter these advantages?
A starting point needs to be some form of consolidated approach to the problem. This means all the business owners in the strip being prepared to promote the strip in a unified way. The most common form of this type of consolidated approach is a Traders Association which acts in the best interest of the group rather than any individual trader within the strip.
For example there may be a common advertising/marketing strategy which focuses on maximizing the number of people accessing the strip rather than individual business trying to advertise solely on their own.
A consolidated approach to the local council can also be far more effective than a lone retailer approaching on their own.
Where I work in the shopping strip in Strathpine and Lawton, we face some specific issues including:
- Speed limit within these areas – 70 kms Lawton and 60 kms Strathpine which means attempting to identify the business you are looking for very difficult.
- In the Strathpine strip, parking is restricted by clear ways during peak times
- Lack of pedestrian access to both sides of Gympie road at convenient distances which makes the shopping strips on each side of Gympie Road totally separate strip rather than a common strip.
Potential solutions include traffic lights in strategic shopping spots to enable easy access to both sides of Gympie Road along with pedestrian underpasses or overpasses, particularly at Strathpine.
Share on our social media sites in the comments to this blog other ideas or successful strategies you have to ensure growth and viability of suburban shopping strips.
Situated in Strathpine on Brisbane North, we partner with our clients to assist them in their accounting, business management and bookkeeping needs. Our clients vary in industries from professional services (such as law, vet and dentist) to the trades (mechanic, bricklaying, plasterer etc), hospitality and retail. Are clients are located in the Pine Rivers area (including Brendale, Lawnton, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill) through to Kallangur, Petrie, North Lakes and Caboolture, as well as Brisbane South, the Gold Coast and various other parts of Queensland.