“Pitiful” and “stressful” were among the words used by Orange’s Central West neighbours to describe the city’s appeal as a regional shopping destination.
In a story published in the Central Western Daily earlier this week Orange City councillor Glenn Taylor suggested residents were starting to travel to Bathurst because they could not find what they needed on the shelves of Orange’s stores.
But it appears any slowing of cash registers in Orange shops may also be a result of fewer out-of-towners heading this way.
The story outlining Cr Taylor’s concerns was published on the website and Facebook page of Bathurst’s Western Advocate, with many readers responding that Orange – once highly regarded as a retail option – was no longer considered a drawcard.
It’s gone down hill dramatically, plus Summer Street is very tired.David Abernethy on Orange's shopping appeal
David Abernethy claimed he “didn’t rate Orange at all” as a shopping destination.
“It’s gone down hill dramatically, plus Summer Street is very tired,” he wrote.
Samantha Ball labeled the city’s retail range as “pitiful”, adding the decline was shocking “as it used to be fab [sic] for a large country town”.
Western Advocate readers seemed to concur with Cr Taylor’s argument that attracting “larger chains” to open premises would lift the city’s appeal.
Michelle Denovan wrote the region “needs an Ikea, and Orange would be a good place”, with Costco was another major outlet on her radar, while Dale Albus Elliott said Orange was “soooooo [sic] stressful … since Myer left” in early 2017.
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Many respondents wrote that Orange’s Kmart store – the only one in the Central West – was their primary reason for a shopping trip west on the Mitchell Highway.
In a poll conducted at centralwesterndaily.com.au earlier this week, only 17.91 per cent of the almost 700 voters said they conducted ‘most of [their] retail shopping’ in Orange, with Bathurst (38.03 per cent) and online (18.8 per cent) the preferred options.
Sydney (16.74 per cent) was another well patronised alternative.
Cr Taylor’s concerns come as council prepares to seek feedback from residents as to what a planned $30 million upgrade to the city’s CBD should include.