As we review the Christmas, we must say that Waterford Traders did their best to make it a more festive season in Waterford.
The Christmas festival was a success and will be added to next year. It was a great start to have the Carousel and created one of the best Christmas atmospheres in years even if we were not spending as freely as other years.
There were many nice Christmas concerts in various venues, plus lots of fund raising events for local charities, including even a Santa run that has proved popular in Britain and in the North and could catch on here too.
There was more activity and shop owners do report more foot fall even if the spend did not match that of the record years that have passed.
We really enjoyed it and the general opinion around is very positive. While you cannot stop people going to see the bright lights in Dublin and to a lesser extent Cork, Waterford coped well this year.
The Chamber Campaign supported by the Munster Express and the Waterford City Council to shop local this year did pay off. Cheaper parking and added attractions brought more into town than before.
Did we buy enough local and Irish products is another question that will be asked.
Supporting local jobs and businesses is very important for the coming year.
With more competition trade for many is harder each year, as more and more goods are sold and newer goods are imported from all over the world.
The Christmas craft fair had its traditional location at the Garter Lane and was full of locally made pottery, arts and crafts. Could more be done here
Local crafts need to be revitalised, other areas of Ireland are far more energetic than Waterford. We saw this during the year at the Ploughing Championships in Callan, County Kilkenny and at the National Crafts Fair in Dublin that this sector is doing better elsewhere. Donegal is much stronger where there is a clothing tradition but even the Midlands do well.
When tourists come to Ireland they like to buy crafts and similarly at Christmas, local made scarves and knitwear can be popular especially, with the rough harsh cold weather we are having this week.
With Waterford Institute of Technology there must be more possibility of training here and also at
Grennan in Thomastown, County Kilkenny there is another training ground.
The Crafts Council of Ireland are based in Kilkenny city,could more be done to encourage this work and create new jobs, as industry and other sectors like financial services contract.
Back in the Eighties there was a push towards this development as more people had to become self employed to make ends meet.
Maybe this recession will provide a flourish in small enterprises that will be there to supply the Christmas trade next year. We hope that we are right and our predictions prove correct.
In the meantime may we wish our readers a Happy New Year. It may not be as prosperous, but at least we should seek good health and community support in what will be a trying year.
Over the weekend we had dire predictions by some “experts” stating that there would be huge number of closures, such pessimism is bad for people and the morale of the nation.
Losses in confidence can be self fulfilling and reduce spending and lead to more job losses than forecast.
Here in Waterford the building a new shopping Centre will boost confidence as will the coming new by pass, so we need to focus on some positive elements.