Gloucester Business Chamber welcomes a new committee

Gloucester Business Chamber's new committee members: Ernie Abeysekera, Sarah Fulton, James Hooke and   Sandra Twomey. Wayne Relton (absent). Photo supplied.
Gloucester Business Chamber's new committee members: Ernie Abeysekera, Sarah Fulton, James Hooke and Sandra Twomey. Wayne Relton (absent). Photo supplied.

There are a couple of new faces on the Gloucester Business Chamber and with them, fresh ideas.

James Hooke is the new president and Sarah Fulton is the new secretary. They join returning members Wayne Relton (vice president), Ernie Abeysekera (treasurer) and Sandra Twomey (ordinary member) on the committee that was voted in at the annual general meeting (AGM) held on Wednesday September 26.

The new committee has hit the ground running, with a jam-packed week of events surrounding their first ordinary meeting.

“It’s a busy week with the Placemaker Workshop in Bulahdelah on Tuesday (October 30), our meeting on Wednesday (October 31) and the Marketing Workshop in Gloucester on Thursday (November 1),” James explained.

The workshops were about slowing down the traffic in town and encouraging people to want to stay and have a look around. One of the ways to do this is through the council’s Vibrant Spaces initiative that allows business to utilise the footpath, for free, in order to attract customers.

Recently, council provided a few businesses with large, colourful wooden children’s games, like naughts and crosses, known as ‘traffic slowers’. They’re designed to create an interest on the street and encourage people to stop and see what it’s all about. 

For some businesses, the attraction of children wanting to stop and play means the parents have time to browse in the shop.

One of the naughts and crosses games on Church Street in Gloucester.

One of the naughts and crosses games on Church Street in Gloucester.

Not only has James been busy attending these workshops, he’s also been walking the streets to introduced himself to the Gloucester business owners as the new president.

He wanted to hear their perspective about the way business is the community was going.

“There is a flush of new blood in town, with a few new ideas and a readiness,” he said.

On one of his visits, he took a moment to ask a customer why he had stopped into the shop, as James was curious to know what attracted him in the door. 

“He was a businessman from Armidale travelling through town,” James said. “He stopped in because of something shiny in the window.”

Knowing what attracts customers can help business owners design their marketing.

James brings to the chamber a different perspective and a fresh look at things. He hopes the business chamber can help businesses to reach their maximum potential and support them in driving their own success.

“I’m also hoping to foster a better relationship with council in order to provide the best opportunities for the businesses and the greater community,” he said.