By Sunny Liu
Alister Reid, owner of jewellery store Grey Reid Gallery on Collins St, has become the new president at Collins St Precinct.
Having been involved with the precinct for almost 20 years, Mr Reid said the group of small business owners was the voice of the city’s small business community.
“Small business is the majority of local businesses here in Melbourne. We are an important fabric of the city,” he said.
“Melbourne is still a maker city. There is a lot of talent who can open up unique businesses and showcase that talent.”
“As the president of Collins St Precinct, I need to bring together these small businesses and work towards our common goal, which is to promote the city and make Melbourne a better place for visitors and business owners,” Mr Reid said.
Collins St Precinct currently has almost 100 members and represents the various hospitality, retail and services operators in Melbourne’s premier shopping strip.
According to Mr Reid, small businesses can offer a completely personal and memorable experience for shoppers.
“Every business has its own personality. This is different from what shopping centres offer. It’s good for people to wander around the city and discover what it has to offer,” he said.
“Small businesses keep the crafts alive. We stick to the core belief of the business and the individuals are equipped with the knowledge.”
Mr Reid said small business owners needed to understand and adapt to the changes and challenges.
“It’s important to understand the way that business is changing. We need to adopt new technology and offer services to the new generation,” he said.
“To compete with bigger franchises and brands, we need to maintain our relevance and have a supportive environment provided by the council.”
Melbourne is constantly evolving and small businesses also needed to catch up.
“A city that always changes is a city that never dies. So there are many positive changes and we need to know when to take advantage of the positives,” Mr Reid said.
He said Collins St Precinct worked with the City of Melbourne to promote small businesses in the city.
“In a sense, we are the conduits of town hall. And this translates to our membership and we can empower small businesses and build a bridge between big and small businesses and the customers.”
Within the precinct, the members help each other out.
“We share experiences and ideas and we are proud to be trading on one of the world’s most well-known strips. Collins St is not just a destination for Melbourne, but for Australia as well,” Mr Reid said.
“We understand the local community and we are what makes Melbourne, Melbourne.”
For more information about Collins St Precinct, visit collinsstreet.com.au