Art trail leads to boost for small businesses
With global online retail sales growing and estimated to reach 8.8 per cent of total retail spending in 2018, government can play its part in supporting bricks-and-mortar small businesses through destination marketing initiatives.
The Off the Page art exhibition in the Town of Claremont provided an excellent example of commerce aligning with a community event to create a unique visitor experience and attract increased footfall and expenditure into the local economy.
The Town of Claremont is participating in our Small Business Friendly Local Governments (SBFLG) initiative, which encourages local government authorities (LGAs) to support and assist small businesses.
As part of this, local and international artists were invited to create art installations for Off the Page, and the results were exhibited at 11 businesses across the Claremont Town Centre shopping precinct in May 2018.
Boosting foot traffic
“Artists were asked to take inspiration from paper materials and written narratives and transform them into alternative visual art forms,” Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said.
The Claremont Town Centre Advisory Committee was committed to identifying and supporting projects that encouraged visits and created ‘experiences’ that couldn’t be achieved online, he added.
Off the Page showcased some tremendous artwork and also allowed people to discover the businesses of the village precinct.
Co-owner of Elle et Lui Designer Shoes Alda Ninasivinche said she was thrilled to be part of the project.
“As small business owners, we’re passionate about being part of and engaging with the local community while collaborating with other local business owners,” she said.
“We believe that we can help one another accomplish business goals by working together to better serve our community. Initiatives such as Off the Page allow us to forge connections not only with fellow business owners, but also to cultivate meaningful connections with potential new customers and activate a strong sense of community and vibrancy within Claremont.”
Immediate benefits to business
Ms Ninasivinche said the benefits to small businesses were immediate.
“In the few days since the project launched, we noticed a dramatic increase in traffic into our boutique to admire the installation and while in-store people learnt more about us and what we offer,” she said.
“In some instances, some have even become new customers. All round, we feel this project has been a win-win.”
Working together to promote business
Mr Barker said events such as Off the Page not only provided experiences for town residents, but helped attract and welcome visitors to Claremont.
“The prosperity of our community is vital to its long-term vitality and sustainability. It’s important to work together to achieve positive economic development outcomes,” he said.
Off the Page is just one of the initiatives by LGAs across Western Australia, with almost 90,000 small businesses – more than 40 per cent of the State’s small businesses – supported by their local council through our SBFLG initiative.
Small Business Commissioner David Eaton said local governments often engaged with small businesses more than any other tier of government.
“With that in mind, it’s pleasing to see local governments using their engagement opportunities to remove hurdles and encourage the establishment and growth of small business in their local communities,” he said.
The City of Canning is another LGA focused on places activation, and has taken community feedback on board to help inform the City’s work in transforming spaces into lively places as part of their City Activation strategy.
To find out more about the SBFLG initiative, visit our Small Business Friendly Local Governments section.
*Top image: Emerging artist Sean Adamas with his piece Textural Delicacy, displayed at luxury designer accessory store Cultstatus.