Plaza boss:switch cup hol­i­day back

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Hor­sham Plaza man­ager Al­li­son Roberts has called on Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil to aban­don its Hor­sham Cup Fri­day pub­lic hol­i­day.

Mrs Roberts said feed­back from plaza busi­nesses on both the Fri­day and statewide Mel­bourne Cup hol­i­day on Tues­day re­vealed high lev­els of con­fu­sion among Hor­sham shop­pers and many dis­ap­point­ing trade re­sults.

She said a trader sur­vey showed that while some shops that chose to open on the Fri­day – some only for a few hours – re­ported rel­a­tively good trade, re­sults from oth­ers were less im­pres­sive.

“To be per­fectly hon­est the re­sults from the sur­vey re­flected a bit of a dis­as­ter that has mostly likely cost ten­sof-thou­sands of dol­lars,” she said.

“It was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing. Trad­ing on Mel­bourne Cup Day for many was ex­tremely quiet.

“I urge the coun­cil to re­con­sider the switch and to quickly change the hol­i­day back to the Mel­bourne Cup Tues­day for 2018.”

Mrs Roberts said she felt for Hor­sham and District Rac­ing Club in need­ing to run its cup meet­ings on a Fri­day and stressed the plaza fully sup­ported sig­nif­i­cant com­mu­nity events.

“We’re all part of a broad team in Hor­sham and we’re pleased there were ef­forts to at­tract peo­ple into town as part of the change, but this isn’t the right an­swer and needs closer ex­am­i­na­tion,” she said.

“It just wasn’t good for busi­ness. Busi­nesses are in a down­hill run to Christ­mas and it is im­por­tant for us to trade.

“From our per­spec­tive the Mel­bourne Cup is the day that stops the na­tion, but this year Hor­sham Cup was the day that stopped Hor­sham from trad­ing.

“In say­ing that, we don’t in any way hold it against the Hor­sham Cup meet­ing.

“But the re­al­ity is that half of our cus­tomers come from out­side the Hor­sham mu­nic­i­pal­ity and their hol­i­day was on the Tues­day, not the Fri­day.

“In the end there were quite a few staff mem­bers from busi­nesses who used the cir­cum­stance to leave the re­gion as part of a long week­end. I was one of them.”

Mrs Roberts said the stores that traded on the Fri­day had to pay pub­lic-hol­i­day rates in wages and some, while busy for a few hours, ran at losses for the day.

She said one plaza busi­ness that chose to close on the Fri­day missed 58 phone calls and sales queries and had al­ready made a de­ci­sion to stay open next year and close on Mel­bourne Cup Day.

Other Hor­sham busi­nesses re­spond­ing to a sur­vey about the pub­lic hol­i­day switch have also pro­vided ‘over­whelm­ing’ neg­a­tive feed­back to the change.

Busi­ness Hor­sham chair­man Brian O’con­nor said in­di­ca­tions from the sur­vey were that the change had led to sig­nif­i­cant ‘con­fu­sion and dis­rup­tion’.

He said Busi­ness Hor­sham would present all feed­back to Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil.

Mr O’con­nor stressed that Busi­ness Hor­sham op­er­ated in­de­pen­dently from the coun­cil. This year was the first of a three-year hol­i­day sched­ule.

For more on Busi­ness Hor­sham’s po­si­tion, see next week’s edi­tion.

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