Free rent for business help

Chamber of Commerce hails south end project

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Man with a plan .. Stafford St building owner Michael Sullivan wants to bring new life to the south end of town and is spending at least $200,000 upgrading his shops at numbers 48 and 50. PHOTO: RACHAEL COMER

by Rachael Comer

A Stafford St building owner who wants to improve the south end of the Timaru CBD is offering free rent in exchange for business smarts.
Michael Sullivan recently bought two buildings in Timaru’s main street, numbers 48 and 50, to use as a base for his own business, and hopes to share the buildings with another liked-minded business owner who can provide accounting help.
Mr Sullivan’s efforts have been applauded by South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith, who said it was a novel approach to sharing business knowledge and positive news for the south end of town.
Mr Sullivan said he was spending at least $200,000 on the two buildings, which also include accommodation on the second floor.
One of the buildings was “in a state of disrepair”, he said.
“It’s in my best interest to do it up and the better this area of town is, the more foot traffic.
“I want to ‘re-tart-up’ the area . and that’s what I’m starting to do.”
The cost was significant, as earthquake strengthening was expensive, he said.
“If Donald [Trump] lets off a missile, my buildings will be the safest place to be.”
His Ecomist business would be run from one of the shops, and he was offering free rent to someone who could run their own business from the site.
“I thought to myself ‘if I could get someone in here full time, that could work’.
“Maybe someone that wants to start out in business but doesn’t have the dough to start up; someone who can also help me in the office and do some book work.”
He had put a sign in the shop window and had received several inquiries already, he said.
Mrs Smith said Mr Sullivan’s novel approach to leasing his building was good for the community.
Business hubs in bigger centres such as Christchurch and Dunedin worked well, the businesses they housed sharing expertise and support, she said.
“It’s good to see more people injecting a bit of life at that end of town.”
Recent additions to the south end of Stafford St, including gift shop Tuesday, the new St Vincent de Paul building, restaurants and businesses, were bringing more life and colour to the area.
“It’s great to see.”

Anyone interested in Mr Sullivan’s proposal is asked to contact him on 0274 323-501.