Business is on its way back to Broadway
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.’’