Jude Han­nah is back and she means busi­ness

❝When peo­ple ask, my com­ment is to be ahead of on­line. Add value to your prod­ucts and of­fer some buy now dis­counts or add a pack­age deal❞

Kyabram Free Press - - NEWS - By Lach­lan Durling

RAISED in coun­try Vic­to­ria, Jude Han­nah knows a thing or two about what makes a coun­try town tick along.

And af­ter a ca­reer that has taken her around the world, the Wed­der­burn lo­cal has come back to coun­try Vic­to­ria, help­ing smaller com­mu­ni­ties cap­i­talise on their tourism as­sets.

She said she was rel­ish­ing liv­ing back home and get­ting to pass on her ex­pe­ri­ence to small towns.

“I wanted to fo­cus on re­gional Vic­to­ria now that I’ve moved back to Ferny­hurst, I’m much hap­pier liv­ing there than deal­ing with the seven lanes of traf­fic in cities,” she said.

She said the de­ci­sion to move back home hit her one day while she was liv­ing in Amer­ica, she be­gan to get home­sick.

“I had one of those mo­ments over­seas where I’d done ev­ery­thing ca­reer-wise and thought to my­self ‘I don’t want to die and be buried in the US — I want to be in a lo­cal ceme­tery.’’

When she stopped in Kyabram re­cently she was tu­tor­ing lo­cal busi­ness own­ers on how to cre­ate theatre in the street and draw peo­ple through the town.

But she also touched on why it’s im­por­tant to keep the street re­tail scene alive, with each shop hav­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent to of­fer cus­tomers.

“It’s about cre­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. You need to do more than just put a prod­uct on the shelves and stand there,” Jude said.

“Also, what’s your succession plan for the store? It’s im­por­tant to know what you’re do­ing and how long you’re there for.”

When look­ing for ex­am­ples, Jude pointed to hard­ware gi­ant Bun­nings and the store’s affin­ity for of­fer­ing ‘how-to’ work­shops on week­ends and on after­noons.

“Re­tail has turned that cor­ner and now you have to of­fer more. A home­wares store could do cook­ing demon­stra­tions and other dis­plays,” she said.

Jude also said with the rise of on­line shop­ping, store own­ers need to be­come more savvy and not take price dif­fer­ences into ac­count.

“When peo­ple ask, my com­ment is to be ahead of on­line. Add value to your prod­ucts and of­fer some buy now dis­counts or add a pack­age deal,” Jude said.

“It all comes down to cus­tomer loy­alty and re­ten­tion. With the lo­cal Cham­ber of Com­merce they’ve re­ally em­pha­sised the lo­cal an­gle and to pro­mote the friend­li­ness of the town.

“So call peo­ple out on it, pro­mote lo­cal and what peo­ple are do­ing lo­cally. It’s the typ­i­cal el­e­va­tor pitch, what would you tell peo­ple in a five-minute con­ver­sa­tion if they asked you about your town?”

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