Chemist counts on upbeat Subi

Subiaco 7 Day Chemist owner David Maxwell stands underneath the people counter (pictured top right).
Subiaco 7 Day Chemist owner David Maxwell stands underneath the people counter (pictured top right).

Installed permanently outside Subiaco 7 Day Chemist on Rokeby Road, pedestrians have been unwittingly walking underneath the contraption since May 5.

Developed by Nicholas Takacs of place-making group A Beautiful City, the ‘people counter’ reads the body heat of people passing by and records data 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Although Mr Takacs is yet to release the results, he said May 11 (the day before Mother’s Day) had been the busiest so far with 5876 pedestrian movements.

Mr Maxwell said although it was clear Subiaco was experiencing a major decline in customer traffic, there was no point languishing in the negativity.

‘There’s a big question mark over the heads of shop owners at the moment; they’re putting up their hands and saying ‘I don’t know what happened, I don’t know what to do’,’ he said.

‘That’s where the people counter comes in ” to get some corroborative information and actually see the percentage reductions in traffic.

‘I’m too busy signing prescriptions to stand out there on the street and survey customers, so it’s a very useful tool. Even if results are negative, we can say ‘Right, well it’s down 20 per cent ” what were we doing right two years ago’ to get back to that.’

Mr Takacs said the people counter was a fun way to have a conversation about the health of Subiaco’s high street.

‘It is also an opportunity for more focused city marketing and economic development and developing strategies to drive higher foot traffic,’ he said.

‘Our main streets are the central economic and community gathering point and the community is dependant on the continued success of these places.’

Mr Maxwell said the counter would empower him to make educated, effective changes to his business and beyond.

‘And when we see those improvements, I’m looking forward to shouting from the rooftops that Subiaco is picking up again.’