High Street traders smiling as sales pick up

File photo of High Street shops during the construction works.

File photo of High Street shops during the construction works.

HIGH Street’s traders have welcomed the reopening of Wodonga’s main thoroughfare — and this weekend they’ll be celebrating.

Business, if not booming, has at least increased since the street reopened to traffic last week after the three-month closure for roadworks on the Elgin Boulevard realignment.

Bags and Boots owner Brad Lodding said the store had its best Saturday trade in a year last weekend.

“There was one Saturday during the closure that was our worst in 25 years,” he said.

“I think the Saturday trade was pretty much a write-off for many, a lot of people felt it was just too hard.

“But customers seem to be happy with the new road and the extra parking — we’ve never had parking out the front of our store before.”

Wodonga Council hosted several activity days during the closure to encourage shoppers into the main street, and tomorrow has one more — a “Love Your Mum”, Mother’s Day shopping extravaganza.

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Among the participating stores are Pour Mes Amis, whose owner Nadine Trist has organised an art and craft market to line the northern end of High Street.

Ms Trist said she too had noticed an improvement in passing trade this week, including the return of once-regular customers who hadn’t been in since before the roadworks.

“I think there’s still a little confusion with people not quite realising it’s open again, but it’s definitely better,” she said.

“All the retailers have had a bit of a wait for it and it’s been tough, so it would be great for people to come out and see us.”

Meanwhile, Lorraine Seidel, owner of Seiburn and 2 Red Apples, will host a high tea and fashion parade on Sunday for the working women who don’t often get a chance to relax and shop during the week.

“There’s definitely a happy feeling (in the street) that the road’s reopened,” she said.

A free barbecue breakfast will also be held tomorrow outside the Hook and Cleaver butcher, as well as buskers, face painting, bands and a dress-up and art activity session in Woodland Grove.

All activities will run from 9am to noon.

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