MAFFRA Business and Tourism Association has been going from strength to strength since its re-launch in September last year.
After a five year absence, the non-profit organisation has been active in the community, focused on increasing tourism and attracting new business ventures to the Maffra area.
The association emphasises a shop local message, ensuring local business are supported so the town remains alive now and into the future.
President Marcus Stobie said it was the association’s mission to provide Maffra with a robust and attractive business district.
“The more people you’ve got coming through the town, the more chance you’ve got of attracting new business ventures and opportunities,” Mr Stobie said.
The association aims to increase the business voice in the Maffra, and through strength in numbers, to advocate on behalf of members.
“We wanted to give Maffra business people a leg up, and a voice, give the town a sense of momentum and bring some community spirit back,” said Mr Stobie.
“Small business and trade is a such a large employer of local people, and often gives young people their first opportunity of employment, whether it be after school work or full time.”
The association’s newly-formed alliance with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry means members have an increased business voice and advocacy, a higher number of networking events, better promotion avenues and increased resources and training programs.
Maffra Business and Tourism Association works with Wellington Shire to help facilitate change in the community, such as the 2017-2018 Johnson St redevelopment.
Mr Stobie said sustaining a vibrant town centre was critical, emphasising the association’s aim of presenting Maffra in the best possible way to attract tourism to the area.
“By encouraging travellers and road trippers to pass through Maffra, we can get them off the highway and through the local businesses in town,” he said.
By improving Maffra’s presentation, the association hopes to reduce the number of empty shops in town from its current number of 13.
The association has a solid block of agenda items for the remainder of the year, with plans to continue the Maffra Christmas festival in December, renewing entrance signs at the Tinamba, Sale and Stratford town entry points and reviving ‘Maffra Money’, a gift voucher incentive to keep money in the local community.
Cambrai Accommodation co-owner and Maffra Business and Tourism Association member Margaret Rawlins said she joined the association in anticipation to help her community thrive.
“Maffra is growing, and as it grows, the new committee is enthusiastic to promote Maffra as a tourist destination so people can explore beautiful Gippsland, in addition to supporting upcoming business owners,” she said.
The association is seeking new members and ideas.
People who would like to become involved can address correspondence to PO Box 161, Maffra 3860 or email firstname.lastname@example.org