Nelson Bay CBD gets Christmas makeover to entice shoppers

SANTA IN THE BAY: A new Christmas shop opened by cousins Andrew and Andy Papasavvas, pictured with sales assistant Logan Davidson, is giving the Bay a vibrant Christmas atmosphere.
SANTA IN THE BAY: A new Christmas shop opened by cousins Andrew and Andy Papasavvas, pictured with sales assistant Logan Davidson, is giving the Bay a vibrant Christmas atmosphere.

The colour and vibrancy of Nelson Bay town centre has been turned up a notch in the lead up to Christmas 2020 in the Bay.

Following a turbulent year brought on by a global pandemic and (more recently) a recession, Bay business and tourism operators are banking on a bumper summer shopping spree in the hope of injecting much needed economic growth and confidence into Port Stephens.

And they are counting on the people of Port Stephens to get behind the 'buy local for Christmas' drive.

As part of the new initiative, Bay business owner and Business Port Stephens member Kim Burbridge, from Burbidge & Burke on Magnus Street, has secured a $6000 Port Stephens Council 'vibrant spaces' grant to help create an exciting new festival for the town centre.

Ms Burbridge said that the 'buy local' promotion was aimed at enticing shoppers and families into the CBD.

"In addition to buy local, the campaign involves the extension of business trading hours and community engagement with the Nelson Bay CBD for the start of summer. And it will be COVID-safe," said Ms Burbridge.

"Starting in December and continuing through to the New Year, this project is focused around three key areas: showcasing local goods for further exposure and community engagement with local brands; extended trading hours; and engagement of artists/entertainers to foster an atmosphere and encourage foot traffic."

She said they would also be looking to put up some festive Christmas lights to create a nice vibe for the street and possibly a Christmas tree in the Yaccaba Street extension park.

"We have also asked the restaurants if they are willing to offer a few items off their entree and dessert menus for people to grab a quick bite to eat, do some shopping and enjoy the entertainment and vibe of the street."

Port Stephens Council has added to the festivities by stamping Magnus Street and parts of Stockton Street roadways with a special asphalt treatment, which is designed to help highlight the shared 10km/h zone.

"The stamping is from council funds as part of the Nelson Bay NEXT project and street painters will return on Monday, December 7, to finish the work," a council spokesperson said.

Nelson Bay, meanwhile, has welcomed its first Christmas store in decades with the opening of Treasure Emporium in the Cascade Walk Arcade on Stockton Street.

"We came in at a time where most of the shops were empty due to COVID and the Cascade Walk was close to becoming a ghost town," said owner Andrew Papasavvas. "The store is full of beautiful and affordable toys and all things Christmas and we hope to put a smile of people's faces after a very challenging year."

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