WORK on the $4.1-million makeover of The Boulevarde is nearing completion, so Toronto retailers are teaming up to win shoppers back to the town.
Brenda Hartmire of Toronto Chamber of Commerce said the works carried out by Lake Macquarie City Council had impacted on many businesses on The Boulevarde.
The number of parking spaces was temporarily affected, while the inevitable noise and activity of the work site deterred some customers – particularly those who frequented cafes and restaurants.
But she said the works were winding up, and they had transformed the shopping strip.
“It’s important to make sure all our locals and visitors know that parking is back to normal and that the footpaths are complete, making getting around much easier,” Ms Hartmire said.
The makeover has also included the installation of street furniture, which was well used on sunny winter days, she said.
Shop owner Susan Maunder, of Petronella Fashions, said there had never been a better time to shop in Toronto.
“I think the makeover looks great. The work really needed to be done, and now a lot of customers are saying how nice it is,” she said.
Ms Maunder has owned and operated shops in other towns, but said Toronto was the pick.
“It really is a lovely place to shop. You get a lot of personalised service, but it’s also a nice day out,” she said.
Toronto’s array of eateries, plus the Toronto foreshore and lake views was a winning combination, she said.
“People often say to me, ‘Gee, it’s lovely here. We’ve just been for a walk down to the foreshore’,” she said.
“And it is a lovely spot. I’ve had shops at other places, but I love it here.”
Ms Maunder said her business had not been impacted by the works to the extent that some eateries had.
“All I can say is that if anyone has gone away from Toronto, then I hope they come back. There’s plenty of parking now.”
To encourage shoppers to return to The Boulevarde, Toronto Chamber of Commerce has launched a promotion.
Shoppers are encouraged to spend $20 or more at five of 30 participating businesses. Shoppers will be offered a flyer on which they will receive a stamp each time they make a $20 spend.
Those who collect five stamps will go into the draw to win one of four prizes including more than $400 in gift vouchers, jewellery, phone accessories and hair products.