SHOP TILL YOU DROP: Business owners Andrew Cooper, Emma Davey, Deborah Rhodes get ready for what they hope is a big retail and community event on Friday.
SHOP TILL YOU DROP: Business owners Andrew Cooper, Emma Davey, Deborah Rhodes get ready for what they hope is a big retail and community event on Friday.

Shop local til you drop at new Xmas event

THE festivities throughout Warwick's main street has been felt by the local businesses trading on it.

So much so, they've decided to throw street-wide festivities themselves, with extended Christmas trading hours for one evening only.

All pulled together in a week, stores on Palmerin street have collaborated for Christmas on Palmerin, a once off retail event which will see 25 shops extending their trading hours on Friday evening from 5-7:30pm.

Deborah Rhodes owns Emporium Lane and started the event with Ooh La La Hair & Beaute' owner Emma Davey.

"We started organising this a week ago and the enthusiasm has been great, it was a combined effort and retailers just jumped on board starlight away," Mrs Rhodes said.

"We wanted to do something festive, we don't want you to have to come down and spend your money we just want everyone to get together downtown," Mrs Davey said.

Mrs Davey said they were originally inspired by the Christmas Downtown event, believing the decorated trees lining the street will be another drawcard for the night.

President of the chamber of commerce Julie Keogh said she was delighted to hear the spirit form Christmas Downtown was catching on.

"We all know trade is down not just from drought but across the board, Warwick is not different to any regional town," she said.

"But the difference I'm seeing is that our business owners are doing positive things to increase engagement and I think they should be commended for not giving up in thought times."

Mrs Rhodes said she's confident each of the country stores can offer something unique for customers this Friday.

"For the business owners it's a chance to get people together and show them what country trading has to offer," she said.

"We just have so much to choose from here, I have clients that come in from out of town regularly whether they have family here or travel a lot and they always say they enjoy their country shopping much more than their city shopping, it's a very personalised experience, all hand-picked."

Andrew Cooper said the businesses in the street have created a community of their own.

"We work together here, there's no competition and to collaborate for something like this at Christmas and it gives us a bit more of an opportunity for business owners to connect," Mr Cooper said.

Mrs Rhodes agreed with the comment. 

"We can work out what people are looking for, what's been successful and it's also comforting to know we all want to help each other and the community at Christmas time."

Mr Cooper was happy to get his store involved, humbled by his customer's effort t to shop local this year.

"I have had people come in and comment they are trying to shop local to help Warwick businesses this Christmas," he said.

"It's very uplifting to hear."

But above all, Ms Davey said she hopes the community will show up for a good time.

"We're not saying come spend money, we get people may not have a lot but just saying get together on a Friday night for Christmas on our tree-lined street."