Busi­ness is on its way back to Broad­way

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - PAUL MITCHELL

After al­most a decade in the dol­drums Broad­way Ave is show­ing signs it’s on the road to re­cov­ery, as it shifts from its tra­di­tional re­tail base to­ward chas­ing the en­ter­tain­ment and food dol­lar.

Once the heart of Palmer­ston North’s shop­ping scene, the street still fea­tures promi­nently in the mem­o­ries of many who fondly re­call brav­ing the Fri­day evening crowds of bar­gain hun­ters.

But those days are long gone.The eco­nomic re­ces­sion of 2008 and the loss of Farm­ers to The Plaza in 2010 saw the street’s trade plum­met.

But now, a ray of hope has emerged as new fig­ures pro­vided by the Cen­tral Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Agency show Broad­way was Manawatu’s top re­tail hotspot in the third quar­ter of 2016, when its busi­nesses pulled in $7.9 mil­lion. That’s 11 per cent up on 2015.

Peo­ple were be­ing drawn back to the street by the grow­ing num­ber of restau­rants, cafes and take­aways, CEDA’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Will Sa­muel said.

‘‘Broad­way is go­ing through a nat­u­ral cy­cle of re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion. It’s hit the bot­tom and is now solidly on the way back up.’’

Im­prove­ments made to the street, in­clud­ing the con­tro­ver­sial re­moval of trees, made it cleaner and more at­trac­tive to shop­pers and din­ers.

City plan­ning man­ager David Mur­phy said the coun­cil has put aside $300,000 for the fi­nan­cial year to help sup­port Broad­way’s re­vival in the short-term.

It’s shift to­ward food and en­ter­tain­ment was bring­ing trade back, but it was quite dif­fer­ent to how it used to be, Mur­phy said.

‘‘A lot of spend­ing is hap­pen­ing be­tween 5pm and 12am, which re­flects the chang­ing na­ture of Broad­way.’’

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