Shop Local: Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive says local businesses vital to communities

Shop Local: Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive says local businesses vital to communities

EDITOR Denise Cahill sat down with Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Olwyn Williams

How many members does the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce have?

Up to 300 members at any one time, it depends on the economy.

Why is it important for us as consumers to support local businesses?

The business community is part of our community, they are all ratepayers and part of our foundation. 97 per cent of the business community are small businesses so make up the majority of our business landscape. When you buy local you are engaging with local. They are also a major source of employment.

What are the challenges for your members in this tough economic climate?

Getting people in the door. Some of our business community works across state borders and sometimes internationally and that has it’s own challenges. In the CBD it’s about getting people here and engaging across the streetscape. That’s why we are focused on the destination marketing fund. It’s about getting people in to the City for professional services, retail and hospitality. Also, if you want to branch out and develop it requires investment.

What is your advice for local business owners to get through these tough times?

Keep going. Think about yourself, if small and lean is better or if you can’t do something get someone else to do it for you. Don’t be afraid to make changes.

How does the Chamber’s annual awards benefit businesses?

It’s the 10th anniversary of the annual awards… they used to be run every two years. Anyone that does business in the Fremantle area can nominate at http://www.fremantlebusinessawards.com.au. It’s about celebrating and endorsing what they all do across really broad sectors. Even the process of writing the application is good for business because it gives them time to think about the business, what’s special, what have you done and what do you want to move on to.

What is your local coffee shop?

All of them. Bottega, Leake St Cafeteria, Gino’s, Philli Street Caf, Parlapa, Hush.

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