Renewing Cooma's retail sector

THE Renew Cooma concept is set to become a reality following tonight's (Tuesday's) Cooma Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Annual General Meeting where the project will be endorsed by the Chamber and Cooma-Monaro Shire Council.

The initiative is set to reinvigorate Cooma's CBD through offering short-term shop leases to local entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on promoting local artisans in a non-competitive business setting.

Operating under the CCC, the Renew Cooma Committee (RCC) has established a framework whereby potential tenants can almost immediately open up a new shop front.

RCC is seeking expressions of interest from potential tenants and organisations wishing to take advantage of the 25 sites currently available for lease.

Landlords are not required to bare any financial costs with tenants operating under a 30 day rolling licence agreement, allowing landlords to sell or lease their property at their discretion.

President of the CCC, Kathy Kelly, said the Chamber will support the Renew Cooma project as it presents an exciting vision for the local retail sector.

"The chamber sees this as a terrific first step in renewing the business district of central Cooma and looks forward to working with existing retailers and business people to see this become a success," Ms Kelly said.

"It will bring in alternate shops on a short-term basis and create benefits for tourism. More visitors will stop in town as there will be more for people to do."

Suzanne Dunning, who has been a driving force behind the Renew Cooma model, envisages a CBD where the empty shops are transformed into cultural and social hubs.

"A priority will be given to locally made goods and local artisans. We'll be careful to ensure these temporary shops won't compete with other businesses," Ms Dunning said.

"At present there are 20 or more empty shops and we're presenting short-term commercial leasing solutions to promote tourism."

RCC has outlined their criteria for potential participants, giving priority to community orientated shops and tenants committed to strengthening Cooma's commercial outlook.

The committee comprises of Suzanne Dunning, Stuart Wood, Donna Robinson and Richard Mack.

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