From the mayor’s desk | Shop local this Christmas and smile

One of the great things about being mayor is having the pleasure of launching exciting initiatives like the Smile it’s Christmas campaign, which was officially opened last Friday at the Church Street Rotunda.

Now in its fourth year in Dubbo, the collaborative campaign is designed to spread the Christmas cheer, and has now spread its wings to Wellington with the Jingle on the Bell initiative also launched last week with the help of Deputy Mayor Anne Jones. While the launch itself involves the unveiling of a tree or the lighting of lights, the motivating factors behind the programs run much deeper.

While the decorations, elves and giveaways all help create a festive atmosphere, the underlying premise is to encourage people to shop local. You may ask why there is such an emphasis on shopping local, what difference does that actually make? It is estimated that for or every $1 spent in retail the region receives $1.88 in economic flow on effects.

The flow on effects of spending locally is seen by everyone as all industries benefit through additional jobs, services and demand. By creating such a wonderful and dynamic atmosphere in the CBD of Dubbo and the main street of Wellington, the idea is that people will be more likely to visit these retail hotspots, spend some time, have a pleasurable shopping experience and in turn stimulate the local economy.

It is through initiatives like these that relationships are built, through positive customer service experiences that will help the retail sector thrive not just at Christmas, but for the rest of the year. Out of the 72 Businesses participating in Smile its Christmas, 60 will be rewarding their shoppers with the CBD Elf Giveaways in the form of vouchers provided by each participating business to reward their customers for shopping with them.

Walk in to one of the participating businesses during the 12 days of Christmas and if the elf taps you on the shoulder, you can win a MyDubbo shop local card to spend in over 70 participating businesses. An initiative of Dubbo Regional council’s Ignite program, the myDubbo shopping card has created a platform for local business to collaborate and engage with the community. Since its inception in 2016, the card has been part of a number of business activation programs including seasonal CBD retail campaigns encouraging Dubbo residents to shop local.

At the other end of the LGA, 14 Wellington businesses are participating in Jingle on the Bell and rewarding their shoppers with CBD Elf Giveaways also. Businesses in Wellington are also decorating their shopfronts to be selected for a prize pool to be spent on their shopfronts.

Even the kids are getting on board to add to the festive cheer with children in Kindy will be invited to complete a colouring competition to be displayed at the old Western Stores Windows.

The Swift Street Plaza will be transformed into a Christmas Bazaar on Saturday December 16 and December 23, with horse and carriage rides, local entertainment, popcorn, fairy floss and a special visitor.

With both programs running from December 11- 22, it really will be an exciting time to shop in our CBDs and I encourage both business owners and shoppers to get on board and help this magical Christmas transformation in our towns along.

I would also like to personally thank Brennan’s Mitre 10, the Dubbo Community Men’s Shed and Westhaven Association who have once more collaborated with council on this project.

While talking about community, nominations for Australia Day Awards close this coming Friday, 8 December so don’t miss your chance to nominate an inspiring community member to get the recognition they deserve. Nomination forms can be found on council's website or by visiting council customer service team in Wellington and Dubbo.